VCU Occupational Therapy students and faculty lend their time and expertise to increase accessibility for all during the holiday season.
As part of the Legendary Santa experience at CMoR, several events are offered with a sensory-friendly atmosphere called Sensitive Santa nights. The music and lights are toned down, and there’s a cool-down room available for little ones who may get overstimulated by the holiday hoopla. It’s all done to ensure children with disabilities can still experience the magic of Santa Claus.
“There's a couple of families we just see again and again,” said Carole Ivey, Ph.D., chair of the Occupational Therapy Department at the Virginia Commonwealth University College of Health Professions, who has been heavily involved with Sensitive Santa nights since their inception. “This is their holiday tradition, and this is a meaningful part of their life that they can't just go to the regular Legendary Santa. They can't go to a typical mall Santa who doesn't know how to interact with them or understand their behaviors, or understand how to talk with them. And [CMoR’s] Legendary Santa is the real Santa, and he knows how to do that.”