The mother of an autistic five-year-old who was forced to leave a screening of Dumbo after being told he should be “kept at home” has vowed to boycott the cinema.
Vicky Page, 36, took her son Noah and siblings, Isaac, nine and Daisy, ten, to the local cinema to watch Dumbo as a special treat during the Easter holidays.
But she was pressured to leave after half-an-hour when another film-goer told her Noah, who has autism, should be ‘kept at home’ - because he was so excited to see Dumbo fly.
Vicky, of Faversham, Kent, said the confrontation at the Royal Cinema resulted in Noah having a “meltdown” and banging his head on the floor - and now she has vowed never to take her son to the cinema again.
She said: “We won’t be going back to that cinema and I don’t think we will be going at all.
“A group of special-needs mums have been in contact with me and suggested we should all go to the cinema with our children to raise awareness but I don’t think I want to after what happened.
“Noah will remember and I’d be too worried.
“If this woman hadn’t have made a fuss or just moved seats, this wouldn’t have happened because Noah was happy - he was jumping around and trying to tell the story.
“But when we tried to move seats he started to cry so we left and went into the foyer - but he started banging his head on the floor.
“He hasn’t had a meltdown like that in a long time; it was heartbreaking.
“I usually stick to countryside parks so Noah is free from judgement but I thought this would be a nice trip.
“I struggle to try and pay for these things so this was a real treat.
“We prepared Noah during the week, we counted down so he knew what was happening.
“I feel for all of the other special needs mums, we all go through this and other people just don’t understand.
“It is discrimination and hurtful, we are constantly judged by people who don’t understand.
“I don’t understand how someone can be like this, he is so little and was just excited because he couldn’t believe dumbo could fly.
“It’s lack of compassion and ignorance.”
But the mum said Noah, who was born with breathing complications, has “been through hell” and deserves to be treated the same as other children.
She said: “Noah has gone through hell and should be able to enjoy himself like any other child.
“When he was born he spent a lot of time in a hospital in London because he had complex needs.
“He has come on so much and I was so proud of him when he was talking about Dumbo.
“He was very poorly when he was born, he had problems with his bronchi - one side was closed and he had issues with his windpipe.
“But he has fought through that and I’m so proud of him.
“He has started suffering from seizures in his sleep, around every three weeks, which we are going to keep an eye on and we are having tests done.
“It’s scary, there’s been times when I thought I was going to lose him.
“This makes me even more angry, we shouldn’t have to deal with things like this.
“I really do worry about what his future might be like in this society, you just want to protect him.”
Vicky believes more needs to be done to raise awareness of those with autism and the behaviour that comes with it.
She added: “He wasn’t jumping around because he is naughty, it is the autism and he sees things differently.
“Their senses are heightened and they can tell when something is wrong or tense.
“I never normally post things on social media, I’m usually quiet but it is so important to raise awareness.
“I don’t want to have to apologise for my son, I am so proud of him, but sometimes I feel so small and think I have to.”