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Sensitive Santa is coming to area towns

Monday, November 27, 2023 - For some families with children on the autism spectrum, or with other sensory problems, the holiday season can be overwhelming. The long lines at stores to get a short amount of time with Santa, which may or may not work out, can be frustrating for a child with autism and the families.

For a small group of families there is an alternative to those lines and hotbeds for meltdowns. The Pervasive Parenting Center is holding Sensitive Santa. The 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 to a meltdown,” said Kodey Toney, Pervasive Parenting Center Director. “The sights, smells, and long delays 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. This is the 13th year that we have held the event, and it just gets better every year.”

Toney went on to say that 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.

“This has been such a blessing for us to sponsor,” said Toney. “When you see a child who is pretty much non-verbal light up when they see Santa, it’s just amazing. It’s great to see these children interact with Santa when most times they would be too overstimulated to participate.”

Santa will be at the following locations:

• The Local Bank in Tahlequah, 4695 S. Muskogee Ave., Tuesday, Dec. 5

• Kibois Community Action building in Stigler, 200 SE A St, on Tuesday, Dec. 7

• Stilwell Public Library in Stilwell, 5 N 6th St., on Monday, Dec. 11

• Kibois Community building in Wilburton, 901 OK-2, on Thursday, Dec. 14

• Carl Albert State College in Sallisaw, 1601 S. Opdyke, on Tuesday, Dec. 19

• Pervasive Parenting Center in Poteau, 1507 S. McKenna, on Thursday, Dec. 21.

These events will begin at 6 p.m. each night and are by appointment only.

Sensitive Santa is open to ALL children with disabilities, not just those on the spectrum. Organizers 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 they ask is that this is just for children with disabilities; no siblings please. Too many children can mean too many distractions.

For more information, or to make an appointment, email or call,

or 18-647-1255.

KXMX Staff Writer

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