Dec. 27, 2019 – Just a few days before his busiest night of the year,
Santa made time to visit with special needs children on the Southeast
Georgia Health System
Brunswick Campus. The free sensory-friendly Santa event was designed for children who may
not be comfortable in environments with bright lights, loud noises and
“Events such as visits with Santa can be stressful and over stimulating
for people with autism. I can't remember the last time I was able
to get a picture of Avery with Santa, not due to fear, but due to waiting
in long lines for our turn, or the over stimulation from the crowd gathered
around,” said Jennifer Wells, Avery Johnson’s mother.
“There were no other children lined up behind him, waiting to meet
Santa, and that’s the way it was designed,” said Erica Boyd,
OTR/L, pediatric occupational therapist, Southeast Georgia Health System.
“The goal was to help children with sensory challenges have a joyful
Santa experience by providing a safe and secure environment. And our Sensory
Santa, Kelly Sigman, knew just how to do that.”
Volunteers assisting Boyd and Santa included Doreen Sigman; Brian Boyd,
DPT; Nancy Rivers; Elaine Dickerson; Reagan Williamson; Cynthia Moran
and Health System team members Kelly Hidalgo, PT, MPT, PCS; Lydia Hutto,
M.Ed. CCC-SLP; Mary Kay Hayes, M.S., CCC-SLP; Claire Kitchen, M.Ed., CCC-SLP;
Theresa Cheek, OTR/L; and Renee Williamson, M.S. CCC-SLP.
“Sensory Santa provided us an environment that was warm and calming.
In the words of Avery, ‘this is the best day ever,’”
shared Wells. “I want to thank Southeast Georgia Health System and
all the volunteers for providing this opportunity for my sweet boy.”