Off the back of the positive response last year, Settlement City will once again be running its Sensory Santa Photo sessions in 2018. FOCUS caught up with Emily Hinshelwood from Aspect Hunter School, who helps to run these important sessions each year.
Who is Sensory Santa at Settlement City for?
Sensory Santa is for any family with a child with special needs.
How is it different from the standard Santa photo sessions on offer?
Sensory Santa allows families of children with special needs to book a magical experience with a caring Santa in a friendly environment with a quiet setting, dimmed lighting and no queues. Our caring Santa takes the time to interact with your child on a personal level, to ensure they feel calm and comfortable.
Why is an initiative like Sensory Santa so important?
We know that some families, especially those with children with special needs, find the Christmas period difficult and Santa photos can often be a stressful experience for all involved. Sensory Santa acknowledges this and the need for inclusive access for all children in community initiatives. It provides the wider Port Macquarie community with an opportunity for every child to get a much loved Santa photo.
How is Aspect Hunter School involved with Settlement City this year?
Aspect Hunter School and Settlement City have partnered on a number of awareness, fund-raising and community initiatives over the past two years, and we see the relationship continuing for years to come! As part of this, Aspect staff will be donating their time and running sensory Santa again this year. Our staff use their expertise in educating students on the Autism Spectrum and with additional special needs to create a supportive and positive environment for their Santa photo.
What has the response been like from the community over the last couple of years?
The community has responded extremely positively to the Sensory Santa initiative, with photo sessions booked out last year and looking to do the same again this year. Everyone who attends comments on how easy and stress free their Santa photos are, and we love receiving such genuinely appreciative feedback on such an important initiative.
How can people find out more about Sensory Santa bookings?
Sensory Santa sessions will run from 8am – 10am on Sunday, December 2nd. Bookings for Sensory Santa are essential. Please contact Tanisha Walker from Aspect Hunter School on 0411 575 436 to book or for more information.