For families with children on the autism spectrum or other sensory issues, the holiday season can be overwhelming. The long lines to get just a few seconds with Santa can be frustrating for a child with autism and their family.
Sensitive Santa is an alternative to those long lines and hotbeds for meltdowns.
The Pervasive Parenting Center will host its seventh annual Sensitive Santa, an event that’s a great way for children with disabilities and sensory issues to enjoy the holiday season, according to Kodey Toney, PPC director.
“Any parent of a child on the spectrum knows that waiting in those long lines is just an invitation to a meltdown,” Toney said. “The sights, smells and long delay can cause a sensory overload that will leave a bad impression of Christmas.”
Children attending Sensitive Santa can enjoy a quiet evening with the soft-spoken Santa, unlike the jolly, boisterous soul seen at the mall. Sensitive Santa will not touch the children unless they come up to him; and they don’t have to sit in his lap if they don’t want to.
“This has been such a blessing for us to sponsor,” Toney said. “Every year, we see children interact with Santa that wouldn’t typically get a chance to, and Santa is so patient.”
The children are treated to milk and cookies while they wait; there are games and activities and storytelling.
Sensitive Santa will make a stop at Carl Albert State College in Sallisaw on Thursday, Dec. 6. He will be at Kibois Community Action in Stigler on Tuesday, Dec. 11, and Carl Albert State College in Poteau on Thursday, Dec. 13.
Events begin at 6 p.m. nightly; interactions are held by appointment only to help with crowding.
Sensitive Santa is open to all children with disabilities, not just those on the spectrum. Toney said they do ask families not to bring siblings; the event is only for children with disabilities.
For information or to make an appointment, call 918-647-1255 or email email@example.com or visit the Pervasive Parenting Center Facebook page.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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