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© Variety - the Children's Charity of Northern California

Variety - the Children’s Charity of Northern California is a registered non-profit charitable organization (Federal Tax ID: 94-1075155). All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

What's a Sensory Screening?

Glad you asked. A Sensory Screening is...

the opportunity for those with special needs to view a movie or presentation that is welcoming and un-intimidating to their needs in a safe environment and inviting space. We know that being able to relax and enjoy time with those close to you without others complaining about being disturbed by movement or noise is a wonderful experience.


Some of the wonderful kids at our most recent Sensory Screening...

Imaging taking your family to see a movie..but with someone with special needs...loud noises, a horde of people crowding and bustling, waiting in a long line, intimidating darkness, the expectation to sit in your seat quiet and motionless for what can seem an eternity. Although it's supposed to be entertaining, it can be overwhelming. For many families with member who have special needs, going to a movie theater together is simply not an option.


A sensory screening offers a welcoming space with no previews, a lower volume so the acoustics of the theater aren't so all-encompassing and jarring, and lights that are only slightly dimmed. You are surrounded by other families and groups who have "been there" and everyone can move around and talk during the movie without worrying about interrupting other moviegoers. We don't mind if you dance or sing, either. We keep the doors to our lounge open, so people can freely move about, use the bathroom, and stretch their legs if needed with no barriers. Depending on the movie, sometimes we can even stream it over our lounge TVs if the theater still doesn't work for you. And we have some couches and larger chairs in the lounge if someone needs a little more space.


And please, bring your own snacks if there are special dietary needs.


It's a great place to make new friend!

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