Autistic five-year-old 'forced out' of cinema after being confronted by 'heartless' woman
An autistic five-year-old boy was "forced out" of a cinema after being confronted by a "heartless" audience member.
Vicky Page took her son Noah, and his two siblings aged nine and ten, to the Royal Cinema in Faversham, Kent to watch the new Dumbo film last Saturday.
However, the trip was derailed when the family left the showing 30 minutes into the film, after a stranger reacted badly to Noah's excitement, spurring him to have a "full-blown meltdown".
The mum-of-three felt she had to leave after a woman began giving them "filthy looks" and told her she did not care if Noah had autism.
"Noah wasn't being naughty, he just got extremely excited," Vicky explained. "He finds it quite hard to stand still when he gets excited. He couldn't believe Dumbo could fly but instead of saying things quietly, he shouts things out pretty loud, and he just said 'elephant fly superhero' and then started really jumping."
She continued: "A woman and her son kept turning and giving us quite filthy looks. I ended up apologising and I said 'I'm really sorry, he has autism.' But the woman said 'I don't particularly care' and that I should keep him at home if he can't sit still.
Watch the Dumbo trailer here:
"It made me see red and I think in the end Noah saw me tensing up and I had to leave with my children. We went through to the foyer, where he ended up having a full-blown meltdown and started headbutting the floor. It was very upsetting and I ended up getting quite emotional."
But Vicky, who works with special needs adults, has claimed incidents like these are a regular occurrence. She says she is often forced to deal with comments from strangers and even avoids supermarkets following a similarly hostile situation.
She said: "I get this sort of thing a lot. I try to avoid supermarkets - people tut, or come over to me and say 'if you walk away from him he'll follow you' when he's laying on the floor. Or 'if you give him a really hard smack he'll actually start to have some boundaries.'
"This sort of thing happens everywhere with everybody, but it just makes you so cross. He does look so normal when he's not having a meltdown, but if you spoke to him you could tell he's got needs.
"He goes to a special needs school, so he is behind for his age. So for him to even shout out I was so proud of him as he has only been able to string a sentence together for the last the year - it shows he's really coming on."
She added that the five-year-old, who was born with breathing complications, has "been through hell" and deserves to be treated the same as other children.
The mother is now hoping the Royal Cinema may hold screenings especially for those with special needs to avoid similar confrontations from happening in the future.