Family left disappointed when they could not go to the autism friendly screening of LEGO Batman at The Light in Wisbech

PUBLISHED: 16:51 15 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:51 15 February 2017

Sophie and Leigh Vinciguerra with children Alfonso and Harry, of March. They could not get into an autistic friendly screening at the Light Cinema in Wisbech as the cinema said they had overbooked on pre-bookings and had to allow non autistic families in PHOTO: Supplied

Sophie and Leigh Vinciguerra with children Alfonso and Harry, of March. They could not get into an autistic friendly screening at the Light Cinema in Wisbech as the cinema said they had overbooked on pre-bookings and had to allow non autistic families in PHOTO: Supplied

Archant

A couple were left disappointed when they took their children to the autism friendly showing of LEGO Batman at The Light cinema in Wisbech only to find they couldn’t get in - because families without special needs children had filled the seats.

Sophie and Leigh Vinciguerra had specially taken their sons Alfonso, 5, and Harry, 7, to the friendly showing after Sophie was shouted at last summer when she took the boys to a regular screening of Pete’s Dragon and was told by other cinema goers to keep her son quiet.

Sophie said: “Alfonso is quite vocal. Last year at the Light a man shouted at me to control my son or remove him from the cinema.

“I apologised and explained he was autistic but instead of being understanding somebody else piped up to keep him under control.

“I went out of the film to speak to a manager as I didn’t know whether to stay or go and they said it might be best to leave so I took the children out of the film.

“Alfonso was beside himself distressed and the experience was embarrassing and upsetting, so when we came to the autism friendly screening of Lego Batman we were really looking forward to relaxing among people who understood.

“We got there at 11.30am ready for the 11.45am screening but were told there had been more pre bookings than expected so families without special needs children went into the autism friendly screening.

“The end result was it was full. The autism friendly showings are never full and in my view should be for families with children with additional needs.”

A spokesman for The Light Cinema said: “We are sorry to hear that the Vinciguerra family had a negative experience when visiting the cinema at the weekend.

“There may be ways we can improve our autism-friendly screenings and we will be looking into this.

“We run autism-friendly screenings weekly and we are proud that they are well attended.

“These screenings are relaxed and open to everyone, so they are ideal for families with young children or youngsters with additional needs. “We recommend pre-booking where possible to guarantee tickets. This also makes it much less stressful when arriving at the cinema as you can go directly to the screen.”

However, a parent on a Facebook page said pre-booking was not an option because if a child was upset on the day it may have to be cancelled at the last minute and they doubted the cinema would refund tickets.#

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