Thanks to Chanelle for providing me with information about Sensory Santa experiences around Australia. I am thrilled to see such a collection of Sensory Santa locations for 2015. Let’s hope this list keeps growing. I’ve asked Chanelle to share a bit about herself, why she created Sensory Movie Days and Sensory Santa experiences for children. A wonderful initiative ensuring families with a child with special needs can still enjoy a visit to Santa. Over to Chanelle……………
My name is Chanelle Avison (Volunteer) and I created “Sensory Movie Day” which is a Not-For-Profit Organisation for families with special needs. “Sensory Movie Day” runs at 13 Locations in Qld and NSW. We hold sensory friendly movie sessions once a month, so families with special needs can come to a non-judgemental screening. We cater for their needs, lighting on dim, sound lowered, children are free to move around and talk during the movie. “Sensory Movie Day” has been running for 4 years. We also run at least two events during every school holidays. We also give every child a Christmas present from Santa during our Christmas movie. All presents are kindly donated by local businesses. I am also a parent with Autistic 11yr old twins, I understand the isolation and the judgement from others. That’s why I am so passionate about offering other events that others may take for granted.
Over 3 years ago I approached a couple of shopping centres about hosting “Sensory Santa”. It was so popular my Local shopping centre had to run 3 days (2hrs each day) to cater for all the special need families. It had a huge impact on families who had never been able to have a Santa photo with their child because of their child’s sensory disorder. I myself had a Santa photo with my twins when they were 9 months old and their next one was when they were 9 years old and it was only because of “Sensory Santa”
Last year we had lots of shopping centres jump on board, from Cairns down to The Gold Coast and out to Toowoomba. I set up a Facebook page “Sensory Santa Qld” it became the hub for where everyone came to find out which centres were running them. The page reached over 30,000 people during the Christmas Period. I also have a mailing list of 1000’s of families and I am connected with Disability Organisations/Schools & Media. I have a great rapport in the disability community nationwide.
participating shopping centres –
Last year I attended 4 Locations and helped coordinate & handed out Balloon Animals to all the children. I passed on feedback from families who also shared their Santa photos. This year I have been invited to attend 4 Shopping centres in my area from Sunday 15th November till the last Sunday before Christmas.
I can take bookings again this year. I send a reminder text message 2 days before the event to everyone that is booked in.
For those centres that will take their own bookings, I keep in contact, check in with concierge every week with how the bookings are going and promoting the event. The video below shows more about the events run and co-ordinated by us, including Sensory Santas –
What is needED to host Sensory Santa
Sensory Santa is an inclusive event for families with special needs that have Sensory disorders like Autism.
– Spotlights turned off,
– No background music
– Before trading hours (morning)
– Appointments (5mins each 10mins for families with 4children or more)
-discount on photos (Would be appreciated if possible)
-Santa informed on what is a Sensory Child (resource attached)
– Sunday mornings are preferred (Usually your quiet time)
-Signs around display (Saying private Booking)
-understanding photographer staff
Thanks to Chanelle for her efforts to ensure all families can participate in movie days and a visit to Santa. For more information about Sensory Movie Days head to their Facebook page. For our overseas friends, I have looked online and I notice plenty of listings for Sensory Santa for last year so many shopping malls are offering this service around the world. I’d suggest contacting your local mall early in the season to check if this is on offer.
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You can also Add:
– Westfield Belconnen – Sun 22 Nov, 29th Nov & 6th Dec from 8am to 10am contact – [email protected] – https://www.facebook.com/WestfieldBelconnen/
Thanks for helping us to update our list and assist our readers. Julie
Westfield Woden in the ACT is also offering Sensitive Santa
Each Wednesday in December from 7am to 9am, contact Westfield Wodens Concierge desk to make a booking.
Thanks for helping us to update the list. Julie
Just wanted to say thank you, you’re doing a fantastic thing & so many families benefit from this. It’s great that Santa & all of his helpers are so understanding, patient & willing to help.
I took my kids along to sensory Santa last year at Westfield Kotara NSW last year & he is THE best Santa I’ve ever seen! We also went the previous year & saw him, but wasn’t “sensory” that time, if it was I was unaware of it at that stage.
Just wondering if Westfield Kotara will be having sensory Santa sessions again this year?
Merry Christmas & happy new year everyone! ???
Hi Jess, Thanks for the lovely comment I have passed it on to Chanelle. Chanelle advises that Kotara will be participating. Maybe it would be best you contact Chanelle to make a booking. Contact details are in the blog. Julie
The reason why she created Senyora Santa is very heart warming. Keep it up Chanelle, may God bless you more and may you make all the people who has special needs happy.
Chanelle has done a wonderful job. Julie