Adults with Autism

Going To A Movie Theater

The Magic of the Big Screen

Going to the movie theater can be a fantastic form of entertainment and a way to connect with others, but it can also present challenges for individuals on the autism spectrum. In this guide, we will provide you with valuable insights and practical strategies to support adults with autism, ensuring you can fully enjoy the magic of the big screen in a sensory-friendly environment. By fostering understanding and implementing thoughtful accommodations, we can make movie theaters more accessible and welcoming for everyone.

Movie theater

Plan Ahead

Before going to the movie theater, it can be helpful to plan your visit in advance. Check the movie schedule, decide on a suitable movie, and choose a time when you expect the theater to be less crowded. Matinee shows or weekdays might be less busy than evenings or weekends.

Woman in glasses use tablet computer

Purchase Tickets Online

Buying tickets online can save you time and reduce stress. You can choose your seats in advance and avoid waiting in long lines at the theater. Some theaters also have designated seating for people with sensory sensitivities or disabilities, so you may want to inquire about that.


Arrive Early

Arriving a bit early allows you to familiarize yourself with the surroundings and find your seat comfortably. You can also avoid the rush of people entering the theater at the last minute.

movie theater

Choose a Suitable Seat

Pick a seat that makes you feel comfortable. If you prefer being close to the screen, choose a seat in the front rows. If you prefer a quieter spot, select seats towards the back. Find what works best for you and your sensory preferences.

autism movie theater

Be Aware of Noise & Sensory Stimuli

Movie theaters can be noisy and overwhelming with sounds, lights, and the overall atmosphere. If you are sensitive to these stimuli, consider bringing earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to help reduce any discomfort. Some theaters also offer sensory-friendly screenings where the volume and lighting are adjusted to be more accommodating.

autism movie theater
Waiting in line

Respect Personal Space

Movie theaters can get crowded, especially during popular releases. It's important to be mindful of personal space and not to invade others' personal bubbles. Try to keep a comfortable distance from others and be aware of your surroundings.

Couple discussing film in movie theater

Observe Theater Etiquette

Remember to be courteous to others in the theater. Avoid talking loudly, using your phone, or engaging in disruptive behavior that may disturb fellow moviegoers. It's common courtesy to keep your phone on silent mode or turn it off during the movie.

Young people eating popcorn in movie theater

Enjoy the Movie

Once you're settled in your seat, relax, and enjoy the movie! Let yourself immerse in the story and experience the magic of the big screen. Remember that everyone is there for the same reason: to enjoy the movie, so embrace the shared experience.

Ask for Accomodations if Needed

As an adult with autism, social activities can be stressful. It’s important to find what works best for you. Don’t hesitate to ask for any accommodations you may need or reach out to theater staff for assistance if required. Enjoy the show!

Guide Disclaimer

The information provided in this social guide for adults with autism is intended for general guidance and support. While we have made every effort to ensure the accuracy and relevance of the content, it is important to remember that each individual’s needs and experiences may vary. This guide is not a substitute for personalized professional advice or assistance.

We strongly recommend consulting with a healthcare professional, autism specialist, or any other relevant expert who can provide personalized guidance tailored to your specific circumstances. They can offer additional strategies, accommodations, and resources that may better address your unique challenges and goals.