On Sunday, Dec. 18, Empower will hold "Sensitive Santa," a free, sensory-friendly opportunity for children with disabilities to visit Santa.
Every holiday season, families of children with disabilities forgo visiting Santa out of fear of how their child will react to the noise and crowds that go along with this popular tradition. Some children with disabilities, particularly those with autism spectrum disorder, are more sensitive to and are unable to process bright lights, loud noises or crowded areas. They may respond to such heightened surroundings by lashing out, yelling or engaging in repetitive behaviors, which can draw stares from passersby.
That is why Empower is offering "Sensitive Santa," where children can spend one-on-one time with Santa in a sensory-friendly environment.
Empower CEO Jeff Paterson said, " 'Sensitive Santa' ensures that every child gets the chance to visit Santa, to share what they most want for the holidays, and to preserve the memory by having a photo taken. It is just Santa and the family with two Empower staff members taking photos. It is a fun, anxiety-free outing for the whole family."
The event is free, but advanced registration is required. To make an appointment, contact Robin Stevens at 716-478-9528 or [email protected].
Empower is located at 9812 Lockport Road, Niagara Falls. It is licensed by the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and the New York State Education Department. Empower is an affiliate of the Cerebral Palsy Association of New York State.