I will spare you another post about how hard holidays are for children with autism. If you're reading this, you know. Or you care to know. Instead I will tell you about a way we are planning to make things run a little smoother this year. GoTeamKate is going to sponsor a Sensory-Santa event.
Firstly, you don't have to have autism to be afraid to sit on Santa's lap. Neither of my children take part in this tradition and I'm betting many of your children struggle, too. It is a bit unnatural, isn't it? Waiting in a long line with other anxious children and tired parents to sit on Santa's lap. For some, the line waiting is hard (nearly impossible for Kate), for some the sitting on a stranger's knee is hard (not gonna happen for Grace) and for some, the mall at Christmas time is simply too overwhelming to begin with.
GoTeamKate is going to offer an alternative this year. We have reached out to Santa Claus, himself, and he is willing to come to the RKYC on November 30th from 2-4pm and spend some quality sensory-friendly time with children who, otherwise, would not get a chance to meet with him. If your child(ren) has sensory issues as a result of autism or any number of other reasons, then you are a candidate to attend our event.
The event will, of course, be FREE of charge (**with the help of your donations). Parents may or may not order photos from the volunteer photographer at this event. (*See details below).
Families (yes, the siblings of your sensory-sensitive kids are welcome, too!) can come and visit with Santa for a few hours. This event will be as sensory sensitive as possible. To book a spot or ask questions please email me here email@example.com. Obviously, there will be limited space available so please book early and make sure you are free to attend at that time.
Santa will be there to allow children as much or as little interaction as they feel comfortable with. Some children may just enjoy watching Santa from a distance and that is fine with us.
There will be activity stations set up to keep children entertained and some sweet treats to keep them happy.
Please stay tuned for more details.
*GoTeamKate is looking for an amateur photographer to lend their skills at this event. Duties would include volunteering your time and equipment to take pictures of the children interacting (or not) with Santa. Parents could then request pictures directly from you (for a price determined by you and GoTeamKate) which would be delivered at a later date.
*Update: We have a photographer! We are very excited that Sarah Steinhauer has offered her services. Check out her work here: www.wix.com/sastein41/runestonemedia.
**If you wish to donate to this event please use the donate button to the top right. (Unless you are reading this on your phone because then the donate button is below). Thanks!
Grace and Kate's mom. (Shanell)