Kids with special needs treated to sensory-friendly film screening
Watching a movie is a stressful experience for some, like Ms Sun Meilan, 45, and her son, Jay Yik, 10, who has autism.
The full-time caregiver said: "He would fidget and make noises. We are always prepared to leave if it does not work out."
Last Saturday, Jay and other children with special needs were treated to a sensory-friendly screening of the animated film Despicable Me 3 at Ngee Ann Polytechnic's (NP) auditorium.
A sensory-friendly screening caters to those who are sensitive to darkness and loud noises.
The screening had no advertisements, the screen's light glare and volume were reduced and families could choose seats that best suited their children.
Ms Sun witnessed how other children ran to the stage and made sounds throughout the movie, while her son grabbed chips from another mother.
"Yet all the parents were relaxed, because there was mutual understanding and true acceptance," said Ms Sun.
The screening was organised by five third-year NP students who call themselves Inclunema - a portmanteau of "inclusive" and "cinema".
It was attended by about 50 children with special needs and their families with members of the public to raise awareness about social inclusion.
Inclunema's co-leader Charmaine Foo, 20, said: "The most important aspect is them feeling free from judgment."
The event was supported by Society Staples, a social enterprise focused on raising awareness about people with disabilities, and non-profit organisation Autism Resource Centre (Singapore).
The centre's deputy executive director, Mrs Stephenie Khoo, was "encouraged" by the enthusiasm of the students who organised the event.
"Others who do not have autism but have sensory difficulties may also find this a good initiative," she added.
Ms Sun said the event's message of inclusion went beyond the auditorium's physical adjustments, adding: "We witnessed how the spirit of acceptance made the key difference in making the event a truly relaxed environment for the families and their children with autism."