By KODEY TONEY
I’m one of those guys that thinks we shouldn’t start celebrating Christmas until Thanksgiving is over. This is why I was saddened when I came home last week to find my youngest, Kruz, and Jen building and decorating a Christmas tree.
That being said, I’m going to write about Christmas for Thanksgiving week. I wouldn’t normally do this, but there is something coming up soon that I want everyone to know about so you will have plenty of time to plan for it.
The Pervasive Parenting Center will host Sensitive Santa on Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. This will be held at the Community State Bank in Poteau.
Local parents started this a few years back because we understand that for some families with children on the spectrum the holiday season can be overwhelming. The long lines at stores can be frustrating for a child with autism.
Then you only get a second or two with the big guy. This was developed as an alternative to those lines and hotbeds for meltdowns. This event is a great way for children with disabilities and sensory issues to enjoy the holiday season.
Any parent of a child on the spectrum knows that waiting in those long lines is just an invitation for trouble. The sights, smells, and long delay can cause a sensory overload that will leave a bad impression of Christmas.
Children with disabilities who attend can enjoy a quiet evening with Santa, and don’t have to wait in lines.
Sensitive Santa is soft spoken, unlike the boisterous, jolly soul that we see at the mall. The stereotypical reproduction of the real man from the north is usually too much for a neurotypical child to handle, much less someone who is upset by loud sounds.
He won’t touch the children unless they come up to him. They don’t have to sit in his lap unless they want to.
The children are treated to milk and cookies while they wait, and someone is on hand to read a book as well. This gives them something to do instead of standing around in a long line.
Parents can arrange for Santa to have a present ahead of time so that he could pull it out of his bag when you get there.
Sensitive Santa is open to ALL children with disabilities, not just those on the spectrum. We understand that not all children will feel comfortable around huge crowds, and it’s inconvenient to wait in line with any type of disability.
The only thing we ask is that this is for just the children with disabilities; no siblings. Too many children can mean too many distractions.
If you want more information, or have a child that is planning to attend, please contact me at [email protected]ter.org, or contact us on Facebook at the Pervasive Parenting page.