"An Evening with Sensitive Santa" for Special Needs Kids | ECTC

"An Evening with Sensitive Santa" for Special Needs Kids

Christmas lights and sights, sounds and smells create excitement and anticipation for little ones awaiting a visit with Santa. But for some kids, the stimulation is overwhelming, and an otherwise fun and memorable experience can be intimidating or frightening. For that reason the Elizabethtown Community and Technical College Student Government Association (SGA) is hosting “An Evening with Sensitive Santa,” featuring a specially trained Santa for kids with autism, sensory issues or other disabilities.

 “An Evening with Sensitive Santa” will be held Friday, December 6 from 5 - 8 p.m. in the Student Center on the college’s campus in a quiet, calm, low light environment. RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED and will be limited, to assure that the activity is not overwhelming to kids with special needs. Reservations must be made by December 2 by contacting Mary Rigney at marya.rigney@kctcs.edu or calling 270-706-8627.

Parents and guardians will be welcome to take cell phone photos of Santa with their kids, but a professional photographer will not be available. In addition to Santa, a quiet room will be available for kids to write a letter to Santa, which can be especially helpful for nonverbal children. There will also be a sensory station, some simple Christmas crafts, and Christmas cookies and drinks.

“Sometimes the traditional mall Santa environment is just too stimulating and overwhelming to children with certain disabilities,” said Mary Rigney, Professor of History. “SGA assisted with Sensitive Santa last year when one of our student ambassadors, who has a child with autism, took the lead on planning, organizing, and implementing this opportunity for kids who, otherwise, may not have a chance to visit with Santa. The calm, quiet, and dimly lit space, with a Santa trained to address their needs, will provide a very memorable and unique opportunity for these families. The SGA is excited to take the reins this year to assure that this great event continues.”

Rigney emphasized the importance of making a reservation, since attendance will be limited to assure a calm environment. Reservations must be made by December 2 by contacting Mary Rigney at marya.rigney@kctcs.edu or calling 270-706-8627.