Megamall tailors 'Yogi Bear' viewing to needs of autistic kids

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 20, 2011 - 7:36 PM

The Mall of America will host a special film screening on Saturday morning for families with autistic children in a partnership with the advocacy group Autism Speaks.

Theatres at Mall of America will screen "Yogi Bear'' with the lights up and the volume down, an accommodation to the sensory sensitivity often experienced by autistic children. Audience members also will be welcome to dance, sing and walk around the theater as they wish "without judgment or scrutiny," the mall announced Monday.

People with autism frequently have difficulty with sensory stimulation such as loud sounds or bright lights, which can sometimes provoke spontaneous reactions such as flapping hands or exaggerated rocking.

Similar screenings have been offered in at least 30 states in recent years.

The screening will start at 10:30 a.m., after the mall's fifth annual Minnesota Walk Now for Autism Speaks, the nation's largest autism science and advocacy organization.

Autism affects about 1 in 110 children in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

PAUL WALSH

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