Sensory Friendly Showing of PAW Patrol: The Movie Aims for Awareness

Lowell resident Carrie Hoffman has been part of the community for 10 years. She is hosting an event on April 20 that touches on two of her passions – appreciation for Lowell’s first responders and awareness of sensory challenges in kids with autism and other disorders. The event will begin with a meet and greet with Lowell first responders and conclude with a sensory-friendly showing of Paw Patrol. Tickets are $5 per person.

Honoring First Responders

Years ago Hoffman was helped by a retired police officer who was working as a security guard at an apartment complex where she lived. The complex was a high rise attached to a hotel. The retired officer knew of the abuse and violence happening in Hoffman’s life and told her if she ever needed a safe place to stay he would make sure a room in the hotel section was available.

As a survivor of domestic violence, Hoffman is convinced that she would not be alive today if it weren’t for the retired officer in her past. “First and foremost, I have a huge passion for law enforcement,” she says. “Lowell has an amazing team of first responders, and I, personally, feel they deserve a lot more respect, admiration and appreciation than what they’ve been given.”

“It’s a good opportunity to connect with the community,” says Lowell Area Fire Department’s Chief Shannon Witherell. He went on to say that it’s important for kids with sensory issues to know that firefighters are friends and are there to help. Kids with sensory issues being able to meet first responders in a casual situation helps some of the uncertainty. Witherell indicated a couple of trucks from the department would be there as well as Little Chief, the Golden Retriever puppy who joined the team last fall. 

From 4-5PM, local first responders from the Lowell Police Department and the Lowell Area Fire Department will be at the theater to meet and greet those who will be seeing the film. 

Lights Up, Sound Down

The event next week is twofold for Hoffman. April is Autism Awareness month. Hoffman has a son with Asperger’s Syndrome so she knows firsthand how certain situations can be difficult for him. She also has a Facebook group, Lowell, MI Parents of Kids with Special Needs that helps connect parents of kids with special needs.

The showing of the film will have a lights up, sound down atmosphere. This is a great ambiance for anyone with sensory issues as well as the ability to take kids to experience a movie for the first time. The lights will not be completely off as they typically are during regular viewings. And the sound will not be as loud. 

Hoffman has hosted movies like this in the past and hopes to encourage families with neurodiverse children to attend an event that helps alleviate some of their challenges during a movie in a theater setting. 

PAW Patrol: The Movie is based on the kids’ animated show where a group of dogs along with a human boy look to help others. 

You’re Invited

Hoffman invites anyone in the community to attend the event, but especially those where a sensory-friendly showing of a movie would benefit. Plan on going to Ada-Lowell 5 on April 20. Starting at 4PM meet local first responders. The film will begin at 5PM. Tickets are $5 per person and can be purchased at the event.

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