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Visit A "Sensory Friendly Santa" for kids with Autism

by Maggie O'Mara

Bio | Email | Follow: @maggiektvb7


Posted on December 4, 2009 at 8:01 AM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 5:32 AM

A "Sensory Friendly" Santa Claus is coming to town!

If your child has Autism, this could be just the Santa opportunity for you! Some families can have problems going to see Santa in traditional settings at the mall, because of over-stimulation. Simply waiting in a long, rowdy line to see the Santa can also be very stressful for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

So, The Lotus Tree Sensory Integration Center at Bown Crossing in Boise is offering a "Sensory Friendly Santa" experience this Saturday only. Kim Rucklos of the Lotus Tree tells me the "sensory" part is about how the Santa visit is going to be handled, and how the environment will be designed. There will be soft lighting and music. Santa will be in a private room, and kids can see him when they are comfortable and ready - with their family members. Santa has been specially trained on how to approach the kids too.

There will also be special activities for the kids such as face painting, ornament making and a bean toss - while they wait!

Kim says she got this great idea from the American Society of Autism monthly journal. There was a place in the mid-west that did it, and she wanted to duplicate it and offer it to the entire Treasure Valley community. No lines, no loud music, and there will be activities while the kids wait.

"Sensory Friendly Santa"

Saturday, December 5th from 11:00-2:00 pm

The Lotus Tree Sensory Integration Center

3169 South Bown Way

(208) 433-9152

The Lotus Tree Sensory Integration Center currently offers one full-time Occupational Therapist, one Physical Therapist and two Speech Therapists. The facility is located at Bown Crossing. The center includes a 2000+ square foot custom Occupational Therapy Gymnasium featuring a climbing wall, indoor tree house with a cork screw slide and a zip line.