Bo’ness’s Hippodrome is FAB ... and autism-friendly

How to train your dragon 2 is one of the autism-friendly screenings at the Hippodrome.
How to train your dragon 2 is one of the autism-friendly screenings at the Hippodrome.

Family fun is most definitely on the menu at the Hippodrome cinema – and children with autism are not about to be left out.

The beautiful old cinema in Bo’ness has announced another season of autism-friendly screenings for the summer.

Launched a year ago, these screenings are a welcome addition for many parents.

For many children on the autistic spectrum being plunged into darkness and faced with dazzling images and a thumping soundtrack is the opposite of fun.

Autism-friendly shows mean there are no adverts or trailers before the film and once it is on screen the lights aren’t fully dimmed and the sound is not as loud as usual.

Teresa Argent, vice-secretary of Falkirk Autistic Bairns (FAB), said the feedback from parents has been very positive.

“They like the Hippodrome because of its size, it’s a nice small cinema, and the staff are very friendly and helpful.

“The fact there are no adverts or trailers mean there is no hanging about for the children. It also means if your child decides to go for a wander or if something upsets them other people are understanding.

“With autism, each child is very different, which makes it difficult to explain, but at these screenings you know others are in the same situation.

“My son, for example, likes the cinema – he likes the darkness – but he doesn’t like people laughing, so that can be difficult.

“We take groups of children along and it’s a good social opportunity for them. Social interaction and communication is difficult for them and it’s nice to see them getting excited about going and sitting with friends.”

Lisa Bennie, of Falkirk Community Trust said: “ We find a lot of parents with very young children are using it to introduce their children to the cinema.”

Lisa added that they are looking to screen more titles and offer a wider range that will appeal to differnt age groups in the future .

Summer highlights include ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ on June 28 and July 6; ‘Postman Pat: The Movie’ on July 13; and the classic ‘Finding Nemo’ on July 27.