Issaquah mom says child with autism kicked out of movie theater

An Issaquah mother and her son, who has autism, were kicked out of a Bellevue movie theater, because some other patrons complained he was being disruptive.

Jessica Matthews took Aidan, 31/2, to see “Finding Dory” for his first movie theater experience on Tuesday evening.

She thought it would be fitting since Aidan loves Dory, and the movie’s main character is a fish with a disability.

“Because he always makes comments that he can’t do it, and I want to show him that everyone can do it,” Matthews said.




So they went to Tuesday’s 7:20 p.m. 3-D showing at Regal Crossroads in Bellevue.

“When the movie started, he got a little restless, because it was dark, and so he would switch seats back and forth,” said Matthews. “And then he would roll on the floor during the movie.”

She thought he was doing well.

But about 30 minutes in, the manager told her people had complained.

She was asked to control her son or leave.

“To hear that people were bothered by him was just like a punch in the gut,” Matthew said.

Matthew did not think Aidan was being disruptive.

“I could see some people being irritated, but it's not more than most kids do during movies,” she said.

KIRO 7 asked her what her response was for the critics who said she brought it upon herself.

“I kind of want to know if they've been around kids,” she answered.

“I could easily see that being us,” mom blogger Phoebe Holmes.

Holmes learned about Matthew's experience on a Facebook support group for kids with special needs.

She talked about it live on Facebook.

“She's trying to do her best,” Holmes said.

“It's a struggle,because they want you to take your kids and they say don’t let the diagnosis get in the way of giving them experiences and letting them be around other people and children,” Matthews said.

Matthews believes the only way Aidan will learn is by exposing him to these experiences.

She's just asking for a little sensitivity and compassion from others.

“I don’t want him to think that just because one situation happened to us we need to hide away,” Matthews said.

She’d also like Regal to offer sensitivity training to its workers.

KIRO 7 reached out to Regal Cinemas for a comment but did not hear back.