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Silent Santa event allows comfortable Santa experience for kids with autism

Silent Santa 2019 event | Courtesy of Connections Therapy Center’s Facebook Page
AMMON — Seeing Santa is a big part of many families’ December traditions, but not always for children with autism or other sensory issues.
For them, the environment is just not a relaxed one.
Connections Therapy Centers in Idaho Falls, however, has a plan to make a Santa event that will be comfortable and enjoyable for those kids, and they are calling it ‘Silent Santa’. The city of Ammon and East Idaho Credit Union are co-sponsoring the event.
“It’s an opportunity for kids that can’t have that typical Santa experience,” CTC spokeswoman Cala Alexander told EastIdahoNews.com. “They can visit Santa kind of on their own terms.”
This is the second year the sponsors have put this on. Last year was considered a resounding success.
“We have had moms so grateful for the opportunity because they haven’t been able to do something like that,” Alexander said.
This Santa works with the kids at their pace. He lets them come to him. Families will be scheduled to come every 15 minutes. Once they get inside, a ‘sensory path’ with toys like bubbles will help kids feel encouraged to walk up to Santa with their families.
Sheri Elkington, therapist with CTC, explains the impact events like these can have on children with sensory disorders.
“These children can’t filter out noises and other stimuli,” she explained. “During Silent Santa, we can control lights and noise … it allows the child with autism to meet Santa and parents can enjoy a little holiday activity that many of us take for granted.”
The event will be at the Ammon City Building on 2135 Ammon Road from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 7 and 8.
Visits can only happen by appointment. To register for a slot, email Alexander at cala@connectionstherapies.com, and she will respond with available times.
The scheduling will also help control social distancing. Masks are required for the visiting families, staff, and both Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
“We just know there is a population that could really benefit from something like this,” Alexander said.
The post Silent Santa event allows comfortable Santa experience for kids with autism appeared first on East Idaho News.
Source: eastidahonews.com

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