Article by Monica Velez, Merced Sun Star

For eight years, Los Banos Premiere Cinemas has been opening its doors early on Saturday mornings so children with autism can enjoy a movie with their family and friends.

On Saturday, February 17, 2017, the cinema is scheduled to receive a CARES Community Champion for Autism Award from the Los Banos-based organization Committed to Autism Research and Education Solutions Consulting, or CARES Consulting, according to a statement from CARES CEO, Dr. Nikko Da Paz.

The cinema has been working with CARES to provide accommodations for children with autism, Da Paz said.

Other moviegoers often don’t understand the “excessive movement patterns or unique vocalizations” of children with autism and this was a way for families to enjoy an outing “without social scrutiny or discomfort.”

Reducing the volume because of auditory sensitivities and setting the lighting to “twilight mode” for those sensitive to pitch-black environments are some of the things the cinema does to make the environment more comfortable and safe.

“Premiere provides a safe space for children on the autism spectrum to be themselves,” Da Paz said. “Parents and families can relax as their child enjoys the movie in whatever way that makes them feel comfortable.”

Saturday’s movie is “The Lego Batman Movie.”

Source: Merced Sun Star: Los Banos cinema to get award for special showings