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Movie Theater Kicks Young Boy With Autism Out of 'Finding Dory'

A movie theater screening โ€œFinding Dory,โ€ a movie highlighting disability and promoting acceptance, was not the most accepting place when it asked a 3-year-old boy with autism spectrum disorder and his mother to leave the theater for being disruptive.

Jessica Matthews took her son, Aiden, to Regal Crossroads in Bellevue, Washington last Tuesday to have his first movie theater experience.

โ€œWhen the movie started, he got a little restless because it was dark, and so he would switch seats back and forth,โ€ Matthews told Kiro 7. โ€œAnd then he would roll on the floor during the movie.โ€

Matthews didn’t think her son’s behavior was an issue until 30 minutes into the movie when the theater’s manager told Matthews people were complaining.

โ€œI could see some people being irritated, but it’s not more than most kids do during movies,โ€ Matthews said. โ€œTo hear that people were bothered by him was just like a punch in the gut.โ€

The manager gave Matthews two options โ€“ control her son or leave. Matthews chose to take her son and leave.

โ€œI think that people should know that kids with autism are just that: kids. All kids struggle to sit down and be quiet,โ€ Matthews told Scary Mommy. โ€œIt just so happens that autistic children struggle more and need the exposure to learn what’s appropriate and to learn what other typically developing children already understand.โ€

Related: This Is What Sensory Overload Can Feel Like for People on the Autism Spectrum