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05th Nov 2018

This Irish Christmas Festival Is Hosting An Autism-Friendly Day Next Month

Kiara Keane

Ireland’s largest Christmas festival will be holding an autism-friendly evening this December and it sounds like it’s going to be a great event.

Taking place on Thursday December 13, Waterford’s popular Winterval festival will ensure that children with autism and their parents can enjoy everything the festival has to offer in a calm atmosphere.

To make the experience more enjoyable, staff will make sure that families know exactly what to expect before visiting Santa’s Grotto and their surroundings will be adapted to make it more accessible for everyone on the night.

Children will meet a specially-trained ‘Sensory Santa’ in a music-free environment and certain visual aspects will be adapted too.

Craig Lee of Winterval’s Momentum Events told The Journal, “He’s used to dealing with kids on the spectrum and interacting with them both via his hand signals, his gestures and the way he interacts with them by way of speaking with them at a slower pace.”

He added, “In terms of accessibility, we’re reconfiguring the space just to make it as accessible as possible for everyone.”

Taking place at the Old Sorting Office in Custom Quay, the festival kicks off November 17 and runs until December 23.

You can find more information and buy tickets via the Winterval website here.

READ MORE: You Can Now Get Your Hands On Starbucks’ Festive Menu