Spokane mom says child with autism was discriminated against at - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane mom says child with autism was discriminated against at movie theater

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

A woman in Spokane is demanding answers from a local movie theater. She says she and her son with autism were kicked out of a movie theater at AMC. It was a special sensory friendly show, designed for people with autism, but Laura Bell says the theater used it as an overflow room for people trying to see the regular show.

After a few minutes in the theater, Bell says her son stood up in the front row and started waving his arms.

"A lady came in and said we were disrupting the other people at the movies and so they asked us to leave," Bell says.

Bell says she was shocked because the theater's ad says it's a safe environment where they "turn the lights up, and turn the sound down so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing." She says the whole experience has been frustrating.

"It shouldn't have been...just because they have special things that need to happen in a movie theater, we should able to go and see things the way other families do. We feel really hurt and discriminated against."

We reached out to AMC to hear their side of the story.

They sent us the following statement:

We are aware of an unfortunate miscommunication that caused guests seeking a traditional showtime to attend a Sensory Friendly Film showing, which caused frustration and anxiety for a guest and her family. During discussions with this guest outside the auditorium, the theatre team realized the error, and attempted to correct the situation on site by welcoming the guest back to the show, providing passes for a future visit and popcorn and drink vouchers, as well as offering to play the movie in a different auditorium beginning at the point where it was interrupted. At this time, the guest chose to leave.

AMC is hyper-sensitive to the needs of those on the autism spectrum and we are proud of the safe, welcoming environment we’ve provided for millions of guests through our Sensory Friendly Films program during the last nine years. We deeply regret the frustration and anxiety caused by this miscommunication on our part, and we are taking specific steps, including more visible signage and a preshow announcement about the Sensory Friendly Films environment before every Sensory Friendly Film, to ensure this does not happen again.

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