Sensory-friendly Pearlridge Film Caters To Keiki With Autism

The Autism Society of Hawaii will host its second Sensory Friendly Film Sept. 30 at Consolidated Pearlridge Theatres for children with autism spectrum disorder and their families.

The screening of Hotel Transylvania will begin

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at 9 a.m., and the lights will be raised slightly more, the sound softened a bit, and gluten-free- casein-free (GFCF) snacks will be provided.

The first 75 people will be admitted for free, and tickets cost $7.50 thereafter.

“Children with autism often have sensory inte- gration issues, which

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makes it difficult for them to sustain attention for the duration of the movie because of the overload of sounds, lights, etc.,” explained executive direc- tor Jessica Wong-Sumida.

“It may also cause quirky or inappropriate behaviors to develop, such as hand flipping, twirling and jump- ing; and these behaviors may be disruptive to others attending the movie and embarrassing to the parents, their siblings or the children themselves.”

But for this sensory- friendly film, the theater will cater to the children’s needs, and the movie will be one they can enjoy.

“Children with autism enjoy music, and the pre- view involved music and

singing,” Wong-Sumida added.

In addition, the wheat- and dairy-free snacks were selected since many chil- dren with autism have immunological sensitivities that make their bodies unable to break down gluten and casein proteins, causing them to build up in their systems.

Many parents try the GFCF diet to see if there is an impact on their child’s behavior, digestive system and communication, and believe that it’s safer to bring food products from home to protect against cross contamination.

By adhering to a strict GFCF diet, parents need to look at all of the ingre- dients in foods including

the topping and how they are produced, Wong- Sumida said.

“For example, Regal Entertainment Group released a statement that butter is not gluten-free,” she said.

Autism Society of Hawaii aims to offer one sensory-friendly film each month in an alternating

Consolidated location. The Sensory Friendly Films events allow families to sit with their children and watch a film, and also provides a way for families to socialize and meet oth- ers.

For more information on the screening and to RSVP, send an email to