After a couple of challenging years, SM Cares welcomes back to its mall its partners from the Autism Society Philippines (ASP) for the sensory-friendly screening of the movie “Lightyear” in SM North Edsa.
The Lights Up, Sound Down project, supported by SM Cinema and Press Play Pictures Philippines, Inc, gives opportunity for individuals with autism to enjoy watching movies in a safe and accepting environment. Adjustments in the lights and sound are made to reduce stress and sensory sensitivity. The audience are also free to move around and make noise while watching.
“It has always been our goal to create a warm, friendly, safe and inclusive experience for our children. We know that for families of children with autism, going to the movies is really a challenge. So we bring back this program for your kids to enjoy,” says Engr. Bien Mateo, SM Supermalls Senior Vice President for Mall Operations.
“Since we are in a compassionate environment, everyone can enjoy the movie experience. To be inclusive means accessibility for all,” says Mona Magno-Veluz, ASP National President.
“After two years of not being able to go out, many children were thrilled to finally be able to go to the mall and see their peers. The children are happy because they were able to interact with others again, and it somehow made them feel that things are back to normal,” says Dang Uy Koe, ASP Chair Emeritus.
For Arlene Padilla, aunt of 13-year-old Keisha Cazzandra Quiambao, the special sensory-friendly screening was an enjoyable experience.
“This is her first time watching a movie in a theater. At first, she was scared. She usually covers her ears when it’s noisy, but as the film went on, she began to enjoy it. We hope more events like this will be organized to include people with disabilities,” Padilla said.
The Lights Up, Sounds Down Sensory-Friendly Screening is just one of the many programs of SM Cares that caters to the PWD sector. The event also supports the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, particularly “SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being”, and “SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities”.
SM Cares is the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings, with programs that support communities, promote social inclusion, and care for the environment. Aside from the program on PWDs, its advocacies include Programs for the Environment, Women & Breastfeeding Mothers, Children & Youth, Senior Citizens, and the SM Bike-friendly initiative.
To learn more, visit www.smsupermalls.com/smcares.