By Kristie Smith/Special Needs Insider
August 22, 2014
Closed captioning devices display a transcript of the movie as it plays, so those who are hard of hearing can catch every bit. (Courtesy of Angelika Film Center)
When our vision team at Mesquite ISD purchased an audio descriptive movie four years ago, the students loved listening to it. The movie also became an experience — since the movie involved a dog, a friend who is blind introduced our students with a visual impairment to his guide dog. The chocolate lab warmly greeted the children while they listened to the movie and connected with important visual details they often missed.
Since I am a teacher for the blind and visually impaired, I am always on the lookout for community activities that include all people. More movie theaters are making an effort to include the hearing impaired and blind/visually impaired communities. Places such as AMC Theatres and the Angelika Film Center offer adaptive tools, like closed captioning and audio description, in many locations across the United States. Check out the options below.
Angelika Film Center
For the hard of hearing, Angelika theaters in both Dallas and Plano offer closed captioning devices, which are personal wireless monitors that easily attach to cup holders and display the movie’s dialogue as it plays. Another available option is a wireless assisted listening headset that amplifies the movie. Users can adjust the volume as needed.
For the blind and visually impaired, Angelika locations offer audio description headphones, which provide audio narration of the movies with additional descriptions of the visual setting and actions taking place.
According to the website, nearly 160 AMC theaters offer several captioning devices for the hard of hearing, including open, closed and rear-window captioning. These tools allow patrons to view a transcript of the movie while it plays and most are small enough to connect to a cup holder. Some theaters also have FM systems (a transmitter is hooked up to the sound system and sends the audio to a receiver for the guest) and infrared systems (an emitter that broadcasts sound from the film to guests wearing lightweight headsets or body units).
Descriptive video headsets are also available for movie-goers who are blind or visually impaired. You can search AMC Theatres here to see if one close to your homes offers these adaptive tools.
Last weekend I attended an incredible movie at the Angelika called The Hundred-Foot Journey. The movie is about the Kadams, a family of cooks from Mumbai that settles down in a small French village in search of a new life. Mr. Kadam and decides to buy a dilapidated house and turns it into a restaurant that serves Indian cuisine 100 feet across the street from Madame Mallory’s fancy French bistro. As the story unfolds, the two cultures learn to coexist.
Tolerance, a shift in paradigm, and human compassion make the movie soar. It delivers the message how alike the human race is in spite of differences.
With more movie theaters adding features for disabled persons, barriers, like those crossed in The Hundred Foot Journey, can be crossed and enjoyed by all — not just a selective few.
Have you heard of more theaters that offer accommodations like this? Let us know in the comments.
Kristie Smith has been an educator for the past 32 years in the Dallas area. She has worked with children from grades K-8 in general education, English as a Second Language, and for the past 14 years, has been a teacher for the blind and visually impaired.