Quality time with Santa

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 26, 2013

Children with special needs enjoyed sensory-friendly time with Santa during an annual event hosted by Partners In Learning Child Development and Family Resource Center.
“For children with special needs, visits with Santa can sometimes be more anxious than joyful,” said Executive Director Norma Honeycutt. “This event provides a quiet, calm environment for these children to enjoy a visit with Santa.”
Children visited with Santa, made holiday crafts and had cookies and cocoa.
���Santa Claus can be a very scary fellow for many children, but at this event, the children had an entire evening to warm up to Santa,” said Katherine Generaux, community inclusion director. “Once the Santa-child rapport had been established, there were some great photo opportunities. By the end of the evening, every child had spent some time on Santa’s lap, shared fruit, cookies and cocoa with family members and took home crafts they had created.”
Julie Miller brought her 3-year-old daughter Ciera. “We had a really good time. I love it that Santa got up and took time to interact with the children and made them feel comfortable.”
“We love coming for the Cookies and Cocoa with Santa event. It is like they have their own personal one-on-one time with Santa. We would not miss it, we look forward to coming every year,” said Linda Hawkins, whose grandson Jacob is 6 years old.
Trish Sihler came with her boys, CJ, 7, and Robbie, 4. “Each year we look forward to this event. It is sensory friendly for our son with autism and enjoyable for our whole family. We love Partners in Learning and Cookies with Santa is one of our traditions.”
“It’s also important for parents of children with special needs to have an opportunity to share information and stories, offer support to one another and enjoy watching their children interact in a celebratory environment,” Generaux said.
Situated on the Catawba College campus, Partners In Learning serves as the Model Inclusive Center providing care to children six weeks through 5 years of age in Rowan County. The center cares for more than 200 children. It is the only National Association for the Education of Young Children accredited program in Rowan County.
For more information visit epartnersinlearning.org.