Sensory Friendly Movie Night Planned on February 23

J.D. O’Gara
Event Presented by Millis SEPAC and Millis Public Library
Issue Date: 
February, 2018
Article Body: 

Going to the movies can be great fun – but not for everybody. For some people and kids, the sounds and images – even just the sitting still and being quiet, can simply be too much to handle.
“When my son was younger, he would cry, because it was too loud, or he would talk through the movie because of the sensory input or the stimulation,” says Audra Noonan, co-chair of Millis SEPAC. Because of the loud noises and because other moviegoers would become annoyed, Noonan says, “I’d have to take him to movies for short periods, and then we’d leave the theatres.”
Kelsey Guindon, also co-chair of SEPAC, adds that for some children, not being able to get up and move around, behavior that is expected in a movie theatre, is a difficult rule to follow, especially for “kids with sensory issues. They get left out.”
For those viewers, a sensory friendly experience could be just what they need, and now Millis SEPAC is partnering with Millis Public Library to offer a movie experience that will be a good fit for the whole family. On February 23rd, at 6 p.m., Despicable Me 3 will show at the Millis Public Library, at 961 Main Street, Millis. Guests and their caregivers will be treated to a special appearance by Millis Police officers, as well as some popcorn and water courtesy of Millis SEPAC.
“I took my daughter Jamie to a sensory friendly movie at the AMC Theatre in Braintree last fall,” says Guindon. “It was perfect. She loved it, and it’s more geared toward kids who can’t always control their emotions and voices. I think it’s a fabulous idea.”
Guindon brought the idea to Rachel Silverman, Millis Public Library’s youth librarian, who loved the idea.
“They do movie nights anyway,” says Guindon, “but I don’t think they have done a sensory friendly one. Rachel has very supportive of that.”
The opportunity to see a movie in a sensory-friendly environment gives those especially sensitive to stimuli the “opportunity to be comfortable, the opportunity to enjoy something with other kids,” says Guindon. This time of year, she says, that’s very important, “You’re not getting them out. There’s nothing to do for kids with special needs for this area. For families to come and have a night out, that everyone can enjoy, sometimes that is pretty lacking when you have a family with a special needs child.”
Prior to the movie, Millis SEPAC will be unveiling a new section in the children’s library on “Special Needs Parenting,” a resource with a unique collection for Millis parents to use.
According to Guindon and Noonan, Millis SEPAC is growing, with a larger contingent of K-4th grade parents attending. The group has a number of workshops planned for the rest of the year, including Understanding the IEP Process, presented by Craig Haller (2/28), Social Learning, presented by Tracey Stoll, Executive Director of Learning Solutions, LLC (3/14), What Is Transition Planning and How Is It Done? presented by Craig Haller (4/25). For more information on upcoming programs, and to learn more, visit or find Millis SEPAC on Facebook.