Many people rely on the internet for communication and as a source of information. The internet is a resource that can be used for finding out information which will assist in the planning of social and leisure outings.
Going to the cinema, like any other public place can be a daunting thought for someone with autism. The individual will be required to communicate with the cinema staff to purchase a ticket and perhaps a snack or drink and may also experience sensory processing difficulties as a result of noise, smells, lights and close proximity of other people, especially when queuing.
As with any other outing you may wish to use a social narrative prior to the visit to the cinema so the young person will know what to expect.
Examples of Social narratives:
Cinema listings can be found in local newspapers, online or on arriving at the cinema, you can see the films which are available to view on the screens above the door or in the main foyer. As with train and bus timetables the times will be displayed using the 24-hour clock.
- The ODEON Cinemas offer ‘Autism Friendly Screenings’
- Cookstown Cinema offer ‘Autism Friendly Screenings’
Alternatively, each cinema has a website which will provide information about films which are available to watch and the times they are being shown at. It is also possible in many cases to purchase a ticket online. This may reduce the anxiety of those with autism around having to queue and communicate with other people.
On the website, you can:
- Select the cinema you want to go to
- Select the date you want to go
- See a list of films which are available to watch
- See what times the film is being shown (you can also view a trailer of the film)
- You can book a ticket online and select where you want to sit.
As the influence of the internet continues to grow due to the vast amount of information which can be accessed and the many opportunities to communicate with people across the world, safe use of the internet is paramount.
Individuals with autism are likely to be as interested, if not more so than others in using the internet to look up items of interest and perhaps purchase them, play games which enable communication and competition with other users via the internet and given the anxiety which is often experienced around communication with other people they may be more inclined to use social media to make contact with their friends and family. Therefore, it is important that they are aware of how to use the internet safely and steps which must be taken to protect themselves on line.
For further information on the risks involved in using the internet and strategies which can be used to teach appropriate behaviour online and internet safety, click on the links below:
- Internet Safety for Teens with ASD
- Autism Speaks, Internet Safety, Social Networking and Technology
- Online Safety and the Autism Spectrum
- Online safety lesson ideas
- Social narrative about social media
- Autism Toolbox
- BBC Webwise – Ten Tips when using Social Media
- BBC Webwise – Digital Skills
- UK Council for Child Internet Safety
- ESafety Video (Please do not share this video)
- NAS Case study
- NAS Social Skills – Online
Points to remember
- If the young person is given the opportunity to carry out some background research it is a useful life skill as they will be more aware of how to find information in the future.