AMC Brings Sensory Friendly Films to Families Affected by Autism

Photo courtesy of AMC Theatres
Photo courtesy of AMC Theatres

AMC Theatres and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other disabilities a special opportunity to enjoy films in a safe environment on a monthly basis with the “Sensory Friendly Films” program. Movie titles include Epic 2-D, Monsters University, and Despicable Me 2.

The auditoriums dedicated to the program have its lights up, the sound turned down and audience members are invited to get up and dance, walk, shout or sing.  Families will be able to bring in their own safe or special dietary snacks, and no previews or advertisements will be shown before the movie.

The idea for the program began with a request from a parent with an autistic child for a special screening at AMC Columbia Mall 14 in Columbia, MD.  More than 300 children and parents attended the first screening.

Photo courtesy of AMC Theatres
Photo courtesy of AMC Theatres

AMC Theatres now offers the program at many locations nationwide. These include metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia, New York, Dallas, Los Angeles, and many more. To see if there are such movie houses in your area, check AMC’s website for a complete list of nationwide theatres at:

ReelAbilities|Philadelphia Disabilities Film Festival April 21-28, 2013

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Greater Philadelphia presents for the second year, ReelAbilities: Disabilities Film Festival in Philadelphia and surrounding areas from April 21-28, 2013. This event is modeled after the New York Festival- the largest festival of its kind- which promotes awareness and an understanding of the lives of people with disabilities. Revenue generated through the festival will benefit The Center for Special Needs of JFCS and a community website, The Center for Special Needs supports individuals and families by providing programs and services of needed care and provides a free online database giving access to agencies and professionals that serve the Greater Philadelphia special needs community.

The Philadelphia Festival showcases films by and about people with disabilities. Storylines range from a father’s love of his autistic son; a man with cerebral palsy whose dream is to climb El Capitan Mountain; three men with disabilities take a road trip and others. Each film is followed by engaging discussions and programs to explore the topics in depth. Venues are wheelchair accessible and all films are captioned or subtitled.

There are six films being screened from April 21-28, 2013.

Films yet to be screened include the following:


Tuesday, April 23



212 York Road

Jenkintown, PA, 19046


A graffiti artist who was stricken with Lou Gehrig’s disease, which left him paralyzed, discovers technology that reads the movement of his eyes and enables him to tap into his creative side again.


Wednesday, April 24


2600 Belmont Avenue

Philadelphia, PA, 19131

GETTING UP- encore presentation


824 West Lancaster Avenue

Bryn Mawr, PA, 19010


Three men with disabilities take a road trip to free themselves from their isolation in hopes to explore the affection of women. They convince their families to allow them to go on a trip to Spain.


Thursday, April 25



108 E. Butler Pike

Ambler, PA, 19002


A documentary of a man afflicted by mental illness that sidetracked his dream of a film-making career.


Sunday, April 28



971 Old York Rd.

Abington, PA, 19001


Opening the Gates of Torah: Inclusion Conference


A drama about family members with secrets that begin to surface after the eldest son, who has autism, returns after being institutionalized.


For festival schedule and tickets, visit

The All Terrain Wheelchair by Mountain Trike

Image courtesy of Mountain Trike
Image courtesy of Mountain Trike

Being wheelchair bound shouldn’t preclude anyone from enjoying the great outdoors. The Mountain Trike Company manufactures a unique, custom built wheelchair designed to tackle woodland, mountain bike tracks, beaches, nature trails, and hills. It’s lightweight yet rugged enough that it can be taken pretty much anywhere your adventure awaits. The Mountain Trike gives wheelchair users greater freedom and independence than a typical manual wheelchair.

What makes this all terrain wheelchair special is how it’s made and some features are customizable. It has been designed around mountain bike technology incorporating a one-of-a-kind control and drive system. As the trike name implies, this wheelchair has three wheels; the back wheel is where the steering takes place and the rider can opt for left or right handed steering. The lever drive system allows the rider to not have to propel the chair using the wheels. There is a choice of a dual brake system that operates both brakes at the same time and can be mounted on either the left or right, or for advanced riders, they can choose independent brakes. The frame is adjustable, the foot rest can be raised or lowered, and the seat can be moved forwards or backwards allowing for maximum fit.

Image courtesy of Mountain Trike
Image courtesy of Mountain Trike

Even though the Mountain Trike was designed for an adult size, children can experience what the Trike has to offer as long as their arm length is able to reach the drive levers and they are able to maneuver a normal wheelchair. The Trike can grow with a young rider because of the adjustability. The Mountain Trike weighs approximately 44 lbs, folds up into a cube, and fits into the back of most cars.

The Mountain Trike Company is a UK based business. The concept was invented by Tim Morgan who is a mountain biker. He wanted to share his love of the great outdoors by designing a wheelchair to allow riders to do the same. They ship all over the world including the US. The cost of the Trike in the US is about $6,040, depending on the going exchange rate at the time of order confirmation. The price includes a complete Trike in a custom color with a three year warranty, owner’s manual, a pump for shock absorbers, and some essential tools.

Image courtesy of Mountain Trike
Image courtesy of Mountain Trike

It is simple to learn to ride a Trike; however, the company does advise of a learning curve and it can take some practice to perfect. Once a rider masters the maneuverability of the Trike, a whole new world of outdoor activities is waiting to be explored that conventional wheelchairs just can’t offer.



The Guided Tour, Inc. Offers Special Needs Individuals Supervised Vacation Experiences

Image Source: The Guided Tour

Living with a disability doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and enjoy traveling the world. In fact, Irv Segal made sure of that and is a pioneer in the field. Now in its 41st year, Mr. Segal founded The Guided Tour, Inc., a travel company for persons with developmental and physical challenges. Trips offered provide a safe, exciting, supervised vacation experience tailored for individual needs. The Guided Tour provides a 1:3 staff to traveler ratio and 1:1 for travelers in wheelchairs or slow pacers.

The staff at The Guided Tour are professionals in the human services field, many of whom have been with the program for 20 years. They give their utmost attention to traveling individuals. For example, if the traveler needs to take medication, the staff will give reminders or dispense pre-packed medications. If keeping track of spending money is of concern, they will also monitor the traveler’s funds to assure appropriate purchases. The majority of vacations offered also have a nurse on call.

Image Source: The Guided Tour
Image Source: The Guided Tour

The Guided Tour’s vacation packages include transportation, most meals, lodging, admissions to attractions, all ground transportation, and supervision. The Guided Tour makes sure that its staff is waiting to meet travelers at their arrival point or if an individual needs to fly with someone, prior arrangements can be made with the travel agency. Meals are the responsibility of the traveler. Most contingencies can be worked out prior to departure.

Image Source: The Guided Tour
Image Source: The Guided Tour

The Guided Tour travels around the US and to international destinations such as Disney World, Dollywood, Las Vegas, Hawaii, NASCAR races, New England, Alaska, Scotland, England, Ireland, and even the Caribbean, and more.

Since 1972, The Guided Tour has been designed to allow travelers a sense of independence and personal growth; therefore, they do not accept family members of travelers on trips as they feel allowing so defeats the mission.