RiverView, River Cinema team up.

    If your family enjoyed the Nov. 10 special sensory showing of Wreck-it-Ralph designed for families with a child with autism or other disability, you are in luck; the River Cinema Theater in East Grand Forks is going to make sensory-friendly showings a monthly event.

    Seven-year-old Nicholas Conley, who is on the autism spectrum, was one of the kids who loved the movie experience, according to his dad Justin Conley, a pediatrician at RiverView Health.

     “He came back frequently to check on me and with the lights up enough he could look back at me while he was reenacting the parts of the movie he memorized already,’’ Conley said.

    The Nov. 10 movie was Nicholas’ third time seeing Wreck-it-Ralph. “He ran, he danced, he played tag and he played with other kids," Conley added.

Fun for families with common bonds
    The idea and organization of the special showing was through the RiverView Speech Department’s Andrea Reynolds, speech language pathologist. Reynolds has led RiverView’s Autism Support Group in the past and was interested in finding a fun activity that families could enjoy together.

     “It was a really fun event in a neat, safe environment,’’ Reynolds reported. “It was great to see families introducing themselves to each other, and watching the kids take it all in. Some of the kids went up to the screen to touch their favorite character, some danced, some sang. There was a lot of fun activity. But it wasn’t chaotic. It was relaxing because the kids were free to be themselves.’’

     “As a parent, you are always painfully aware of what people around you are perceiving…having experiences like this are great for him to be himself, not to be shushed, asked to whisper or sit down,’’ Conley said of his son, Nicholas. “For him to socialize, jump, dance and play outside of a typical safe zone and not be judged, made fun of, or bullied is fantastic.

    “I hope that more families can experience that and hopefully will be comfortable enough to just let their kids be themselves," he continued. "If this could be something done nationally, it would be a great asset to families with special needs kids.’’

Next showing
    The next movie will be Rise of the Guardians on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 10:30 a.m. at River Cinema. Rise of the Guardians is a computer-animated fantasy-adventure film based on William Joyce's The Guardians of Childhood book series and The Man in the Moon short film. Rise of the Guardians stars Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher and Jude Law. Jack Frost (Pine) is a carefree boy who has no responsibilities in the world aside from bringing winter wherever he goes. But everything changes when Pitch (Law), the Nightmare King, begins his plan to engulf the world in darkness. The Guardians, Santa Claus (Baldwin), the Tooth Fairy (Fisher), the Easter Bunny (Jackman) and the Sandman enlist Jack to join their group to stop Pitch and protect the children of the world.

    Due to the availability of children’s movies, the special showings may vary as far as which monthly Saturday morning the movies will take place. For that reason, monitor the River Cinema website for move dates at moorefamilytheatres.com/rivercinema15.asp.