Bringing your kids to visit Santa is practically a Christmas must, and while the loud, cheerful environment is exciting for some, for others, it can cause extreme stress. That’s where Chatter Pediatric Therapy and Family Voices of North Dakota swoop in to save the Christmas spirit. With their sensory-free Sensitive Santa event, they help kids with special needs participate in a cherished holiday tradition.
Meeting Santa often includes long lines, lots of waiting, crowds, loud music, and sitting on a stranger’s lap, even if he is Santa. It’s no surprise that this can stress out many kids - and parents. The holidays tend to include lots of hustle and bustle, but Sensitive Santa slows things down to help everyone enjoy the season. Chatter Pediatric, with help from Family Voices of North Dakota, started this event in 2016 to focus particularly on helping kids with special needs take part in the Christmas tradition. “We wanted to create an event for kids to experience meeting Santa without the sensory overload,” Katie Kringen from Chatter explains. “That is why we put together an event for the community to have kids come meet Santa at their own speed.”
As the event continues through the years, with this year being the 7th annual event in Williston, popularity and attendance continue to grow, too. Serving not only the Williston community, participants come from all over the surrounding areas including from Ray, Sidney, Watford City, Fairview, and New Town. Sensitive Santa is a hit, and a help, for so many people. Kringen says, “We receive so many appreciative and positive comments about this event from families.”
Chatter Pediatric Therapy specializes in helping kids, from newborns to teenagers, with their variety of services and events. Their Sensitive Santa is just one of many sensory-free events they put on to help those in the community. “We love having sensory-free events for the community. We continually challenge ourselves to think about how we can provide new events in town so children with special needs can experience the same events as others.” With the success of the first Sensitive Santa event, they started to put on the event in their Jamestown and Dickinson offices as well as starting new events such as their Trick or Treat Event during the Halloween season. This event features a haunted obstacle course without the surprises or scares and a safe space for kids to practice their “Trick or Treating” skills.
This non-profit event is being held at the Chatter Pediatric Clinic, 221 University Ave Suite 203, in Williston. Check out this event on Saturday, December 10th from 11:00 am to 1:00pm. Also visit https://www.chattertherapy.com/ to see their other events and services.