Saturday, July 25, 2009

Christmas in July

I recently read a very cool article in the latest issue of the Autism Advocate from the Autism Society of America: Santa-America and Autism Society Launch Affiliation.

Santa-America is a volunteer organization with a special mission:

Over 100 Santas from 44 states and six foreign countries visit children and families in crisis. Santa Claus visits when a child or family needs him—12 months a year—bringing love, hope and joy to special-needs children in a loving one-hour visit at home, hospital or hospice. Santa's visits are free; there is no charge for a visit from Santa Claus—ever.

The new partnership with the ASA started out with an event in Kansas City this past Christmas:

The settings were scheduled with 3-5 families during a 30-minute period. Children waiting to see Santa were able to watch a Christmas video or play in the play area of the club house. When it was their turn, each family was taken into a private room next to a cozy fireplace to meet and talk with Santa. Santa’s “book of good boys and girls” included a page for each child, listing their birthdays, friends, teachers and what they had said they wanted for Christmas. Most important, families knew that everyone there would be accepting of any behavioral differences their children might have.

Well, that just 'bout brings tears to my eyes! What a spectacular accommodation for families who want to share the magic of Santa with their spectrum kiddos, highly personalized and without the mall meltdown triggers.

Ernest Berger, president of Santa-America, summed it up neatly:

All our love is focused on giving our children an inclusive and joyful experience.

That sounds... like some amazing bloggy parents I know.


AuntieS said...

Sounds like a wonderful organization and a great connection with the Autism Society.

jess said...

FABULOUS!!! and perfectly timed - kendall broke into christmas carols at the pool on saturday. she loves her some mid summer christmas cheer!