Empowering Hope & Healing Through Education
Empowering Hope & Healing Through Education
Registration for this incredible program begins on Maddie’s Birthday, November 1, so I have no problem remembering when registration date is. But, if your child’s birthday doesn’t happen to fall on this day we promise it is worth adding it to your calendar. Each year a company called Max Mods hosts workshops all over the country where they work with volunteers to make regular toys into switch adapted toys. They then give the toys away to deserving children for Christmas. Yerp you heard that right, FREE SWITCH ADAPTED TOY FOR CHRISTMAS! Space is limited so that is why I encourage you to sign up early to ensure your child can get a toy.
When your child cannot play like other children a gift like this is priceless. Watching her light up because she did something all by herself is not something I can put into words.
Maddie has been fortunate enough to receive three switch activated toys over the last two years as well as being chosen again this year to receive another toy.
This is a resource that you probably won’t find much information posted publicly about but it is very popular and something I’ve heard is done quite often. All more than special needs parents know what I mean when I say we only go places and come in to contact with people when absolutely necessary during cold and flu season because we dread going to the hospital where our already fragile child is most susceptible to getting sick. For the first few years we were able to see Santa at our local children’s hospital, partly because Maddie was there or being discharged on Christmas day. However, our local hospital typically hosts 1-2 events with free photos with Santa available.
Our hospice, for the past 3 years, has arranged for Santa to come to the house. Usually on December 23 or Christmas Eve but this has truly been the best experience not just for Maddie, but for our entire family. We don’t feel rushed or pressured and usually the girls get 20 or so minutes with Santa.
If you are gratefully not on hospice care, your social worker can be a great resource for a local organization that may have Santa visits. Another option that just began is through the Santa’s little hackers’ group and it is essentially a program where Santa visits children who are unable to go see Santa.
This one of a kind experience is something the entire family will enjoy. Climb aboard a real train that has been transformed to model the hit movie The Polar Express. With a story-telling of Chris Van Allsburg’s book, chocolate, cocoa, and songs straight from the movie. Our local experience also has an arrival at “the north pole” and each child is given a bell from Santa. Prices can vary from $25 - $100 depending on the package you purchase since some areas offer copies of the book and commemorative pajama sets with packages as well as the typical seat upgrade options you would expect to find. If your child is in a wheelchair be sure to reserve the disability accessible seating and typically when you are purchasing your tickets most railways have an option for additional assistance. We always request this when traveling via train, and each time have had a personal attendant waiting to assist us with boarding and deboarding. With contacting them early they are also able to give you an incredible seat without paying extra money.
A unique and incredible experience for deaf/hard of hearing children and their families. There isn’t any formal website organizing all of the locations, dates, and times that host these wonderful events as they constantly change from year to year and can vary vastly depending on the area you are in. However, a quick online search will connect you with one in your area as well as reaching out to your child’s social worker and asking if they are aware of any events with a signing Santa in the area.
This was an incredible experience our family is now looking forward to doing for many years to come. We had no problems navigating with Madeline’s wheelchair and the entire staff was extremely accommodating even reassuring us that while the stadium was not fully operational, they did have medical personnel on sight. To say that both my children, chad, and I all loved an experience is rare. This is the type of event that can also help other people connect with your child. So often we find ourselves explaining over and over that Maddie is like any other kid and this kind of event really shows that no matter how old, young, or abled, we all believe in the magic of the holidays.
By far one of my favorite events to take the kids to as they are typically outdoors in large open areas, allowing for plenty of space to stand away from the crowds if things get too overwhelming. Again, something that varies by area but, typically large cities have annual events that not only include a tree lighting ceremony of a larger than life tree, but they sometimes offer music, activities, and Santa visits. Be sure to bundle up if you plan to attend one of these events and don’t skip the blanket (pack a personal size one for each child), trust us you will be glad you did.