The School of Psychology at NUI Galway will host a sensory-friendly Santa’s grotto on campus this Saturday, and organisers have invited children with autism and other developmental disabilities to see Santa with their parents and siblings.
Most families take their annual visit to Santa for granted, but children with autism and other developmental disabilities often cannot go to see Santa and have their photo taken with him in shopping centres and other venues because of the noise and long queues.
This sensory-friendly Santa’s Grotto, open from 12 noon to 5pm on Saturday, will feature elves (students of the School of Psychology's Masters in Applied Behaviour Analysis ) who are experts in supporting all kinds of children, and will be on hand to ensure the children and their families have the best possible Santa experience.
Santa himself is especially sensitive, and cannot wait to meet all the amazing children.
Forms have already been sent to the families visiting the grotto, to provide the age of the child and to choose one of the sensory-friendly toys which include light-up maracas; a Dr Seuss card game; cosmic ray wand, vibrating bug; and a flashlight hedgehog; and to select toys for the children’s siblings too.
This year’s grotto is full with 36 families having confirmed their attendance to the inaugural event. The School of Psychology hope to build on this every Christmas and open it up to the public next year.