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Kids with special needs enjoy sensory-friendly Santa experience

Posted: 5:54 PM, Dec 10, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-10 23:54:43Z
Kids with special needs enjoy sensory-friendly Santa experience

Isabella Davis is a big fan of Christmas. 

"Getting presents, making all those toys," said Isabella. 

"It's probably her favorite time of year. She loves Santa. He's huge for her," said Angela Miller, Isabella's mother. 

However, she is not able to experience Santa in the same way as other children. 

"She has Williams syndrome with a secondary intellectual disability... One of her sensory issues is she can't handle big noises. She tends to wear headphones," said Miller. 

That is why each year Elite Therapy Center has hosted a sensory-friendly Santa event for kids.

"What sensory Santa is, is a chance for kids to visit Santa in a calm comfortable environment that they're used to coming to. Many of the kids come here for therapy on a weekly basis, but away from the crowds and the loudness of the mall and the long lines," said Kari McKown, Co-owner of Elite Therapy Center.

During the event, kids took part in a sensory-friendly experience designed to support their physical, sensory, environmental and other developmental needs.

"We have sensory fidgets and tools and chew tubes and weighted blankets available for them to use as well as headphones if they need to use those things while they visit Santa," said McKown.

Isabella's mom said the efforts go a long way. 

"The quietness of sensory Santa, she can relax. There's no anxiety. It's calm and peaceful which is an ideal environment for her," said Miller. 

The next sensory Santa event is set for Dec. 18 from 2:30 to 5 p.m. at the Elite Therapy Center Temple location and from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. at their Waco location.  

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