A five-year-old autistic boy was forced out of a Dumbo screening when another viewer said he was ‘too excited’, his mum claims. Vicky Page, 36, had taken Noah and her two other children to a showing of the h-it Disney re-make at the Royal Cinema in Faversham, Kent. After 30 minutes of watching the film, Vicky said she felt compelled to leave when a member of the audience confronted her about Noah’s exctiement.
She said: “Noah wasn’t being naughty, he just got extremely excited. “He finds it quite hard to stand still when he gets excited. “He couldn’t believe Dumbo could fly but instead of saying things quietly, he sh-outs things out pretty loud. “He said ‘elephant fly superhero’ and then he started really jumping.
“A woman who was with her son kept turning and giving us quite filthy looks. “I ended up apologising…I said ‘I’m really sorry, he has autism’. “She said ‘I don’t particularly care’ and that I should keep him at home if he can’t sit still.”
“It made me see red and I think in the end Noah saw me tensing up and I had to leave with my children.”Vicky, who works with special needs adults, said the incident then led to Noah having a meltdown in the foyer of the cinema. The mum-of-three added: “Noah ended up having a full-blown meltdown and started head-butting the floor.
“It was very upsetting and I ended up getting quite emotional. I get this sort of thing a lot – it was not an isolated incident. “I do wish people could be more compassionate, and not be so cruel and unfeeling.
“It was very upsetting and I want people to understand Noah is not misbehaving. “I get this sort of thing a lot – I try to avoid supermarkets.
“People tut, or come over to me and say ‘if you walk away from him, he will follow you’ when he’s lying on the floor. “Or they will say ‘If you give him a really hard smack, he’ll actually start to have some boundaries’.
“This sort of thing happens everywhere with everybody, but it just makes you so cross.” Noah goes to a special needs school and is classed as ‘behind’ for his age, according to Vicky.
She said she even felt “proud” of Noah for shouting out, as it shows he is developing his speech. Vicky added: “For him to even shout out, I was so proud of him as he has only been able to string a sentence together for the last the year. It shows he is really coming on.
“We only got half an hour into the film, and it is hard for my other two children, aged nine and 10, as it was a treat for them too.
“They need that treat because it is quite difficult for them as well as we are very limited – our routines have to be quite structured, so they can’t have people round to play.
“It is all about countdowns with Noah, so we had been preparing him for the cinema for a week.” Vicky praised staff at the cinema for their help and she hopes in the future that they may be able to hold screenings especially for those with special needs.
She added: “People have been so supportive on social media. There have been special-needs mums coming forward and they want to do this trip to the cinema, getting all the special-needs mums together.
“It would be lovely – the children could run around the cinema and make noises. “I know people say you should go to autism-friendly screenings but they are miles away. “I wanted to get my point across and raise awareness because I found the situation really sad and quite heartless.”
Vicky’s incident divided opinion on social media. On social media, a commenter calling themselves I Don’t Even Live Here wrote: “The woman who tutted is lucky it wasn’t me she did it to…I would have made her leave the cinema if she didn’t like it.
“When I’m out anywhere with my autistic son, he sometimes makes noises to himself, not loud, but it can make people look, which I can understand, but if someone ever said anything to upset him I would make them wish they had kept their big mouth shut.”
Collette Post wrote: “I have Asperger’s and dread going to the cinema. I used to be a bit loud speaking as a child too. “I think it’s ridiculous that people especially children with disabilities are not understood and shocked a fellow parent wasn’t more understanding.
“The cinema should think about perhaps having a Saturday special showing with say a special booth above where the mum could’ve taken the boy upstairs away from the rest to enjoy the film. Larger cinemas I think do have special showings.”
Curious Quine posted: “This is so tough and I truly feel hor-rible for the lady and her family, however going to the cinema is an expensive treat for a lot of families and I can also see it from the other lady’s point of view as well.
“Perhaps all cinemas need to provide screenings suitable for those with additional needs. Both families can argue they had a hor-rible time and each felt justified in their responses.
“I hope that the cinema will consider suitable screenings for families who need that little extra attention to details.”
Troll Bane said: “I don’t see the issue in somebody who has a child that cannot sit through a film not going to the cinema as a result.
“It is a very expensive activity for families and clearly an active and loud child or adult will spoil it for everybody else.”
This Story Was Originally Published On “mirror.co.uk”