A five-year-old boy with autism was ‘compelled’ to leave a cinema screening of Dumbo when an audience member complained he was getting ‘extremely excited’, his mum claims.
Vicky Page, 30, felt ‘compelled’ to leave the cinema 30 minutes into a showing of Dumbo at the Royal Cinema in Faversham, Kent, with her three children because of a woman’s ‘heartless’ reaction when Noah struggled to sit still.
Noah was so taken with Disney’s flying elephant, he joined in with Dumbo’s jumping and exclaimed ‘elephant fly superhero’.
His mum apologised but the incident escalated, according to Page, who explained:
A woman who was with her son kept turning and giving us quite filthy looks. I ended up apologising…I said ‘I’m really sorry, he has autism’.
She said ‘I don’t particularly care’ and that I should keep him at home if he can’t sit still.
It made me see red and I think in the end Noah saw me tensing up and I had to leave with my children.
Noah, who attends a special educational needs school, has been unable to speak in full sentences until recently due to his condition, so his mum was ‘proud’ he was able to verbalise his joy at seeing the film.
But the other women didn’t feel the same about the cinema full of excited children, apparently, and singled out Noah, despite Page informing her of the young boy’s condition.
On the bright side, Page said the cinema staff were very supportive and in sharing her story, she has inspired others to call for more screenings especially for those with autism and Asperger’s syndrome.
One social media user wrote:
I have Asperger’s and dread going to the cinema. I used to be a bit loud speaking as a child too.
I think it’s ridiculous that people especially children with disabilities are not understood and shocked a fellow parent wasn’t more understanding.
The cinema should think about perhaps having a Saturday special showing with say a special booth above where the mum could’ve taken the boy upstairs away from the rest to enjoy the film.
Larger cinemas I think do have special showings.
Meanwhile, Page says she’s been contacted by other parents of children with special needs who want to get together and take their children to see Dumbo away from the ignorance of those who don’t understand the conditions.
If you have a story you want to tell, share it with UNILAD via [email protected]
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.