Kelowna Realtors Invite Children with Autism to ‘Sensitive Santa’

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Kelowna realtors, Quincy Vrecko & Associates, is sponsoring a special event for children with autism so they can have their photo taken with Santa in a soothing setting.

Kelowna Realtors Sponsor Sensitive Santa

Kelowna Realtors Invite Children with Autism to ‘Sensitive Santa’

“This time of year, waiting to see Santa can take half an hour, which can feel like a lifetime for children on the spectrum,” says Tracey. “I can tell you, it is extremely challenging as a parent, and for their siblings.”

There are certain holiday traditions that create fond memories and help families get into the Christmas spirit: decorating the tree, building snowmen and, of course, getting a photo with Santa. But for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the latter can be a challenging experience.

That’s why the Kelowna realtors at Quincy Vrecko & Associates are sponsoring a special event called Sensitive Santa at the Orchard Park Mall on Sunday, Dec. 13. On that night, from 6-8 pm, the mall will be closed to the public to allow children with ASD an opportunity to get their photo taken with Santa in a calm environment.

Tracey Vrecko and her husband Quincy Vrecko have two children, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. He is six years old now, but was just two when he was first diagnosed with the condition. They understand what it’s like to wait in line in a busy shopping mall during the chaotic holiday shopping season, and they know it’s not easy for children with autism or their parents.

“This time of year, waiting to see Santa can take half an hour, which can feel like a lifetime for children on the spectrum,” says Tracey. “I can tell you, it is extremely challenging as a parent, and for their siblings.”

In particular, children with ASD can be highly sensitive to crowds, lights, noise and loud music. That pretty much sums up everything one would encounter in a bustling shopping mall in December.

“A lot of it is visual,” says Tracey, whose team of Kelowna realtors is covering the cost of the photo session. “Bright lights can actually be blinding to them, but all of those things are going to be a challenge.”

Tracey says the goal is to make the Sensitive Santa photo session an enjoyable experience for the children. To achieve that, they’re making the mall as peaceful as possible: the music will be turned off, the lights will be dimmed and visits will be by appointment only, so there will be no standing in line. Siblings are welcome to participate in the event as well.

Tracey, who is also a board member of Autism Okanagan, first got the idea for Sensitive Santa when she and her family were still living in Alberta. She noticed a similar event being held at a Calgary mall, and the event stuck with her.

“I saw it there a few years ago and thought it was a great idea,” she explains. “Having challenges with our son who’s on the spectrum, I saw a need for that here. Getting your photo with Santa is supposed to be an enjoyable experience.”

Referring to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Autism Speaks Canada estimates one in 68 children are identified with ASD. Studies also show that the disorder can be up to five times more prevalent in boys than girls.

To book an appointment for Sensitive Santa, contact Tracey Vrecko by phoning 250-575-6448. Donations to Autism Okanagan are gratefully accepted, as they strive to raise awareness about ASD and create programs that support individuals and families with the disorder.

About Quincy Vrecko & Associates
Quincy Vrecko & Associates is a RE/MAX team of Kelowna realtors that includes Chris Ward, a Kelowna realtor for 24 years; Tracey Vrecko, a top-performing home real estate agent; and Quincy Vrecko, a realtor who specializes in Kelowna luxury homes. Together, they offer custom marketing plans that exceed clients’ expectations. They’re based in Kelowna, but have listings throughout Central Okanagan, including Lake Country, Big White, Naramata, West Kelowna and Peachland.

For more information, please contact:

Tracey Vrecko
Kelowna Realtor
Quincy Vrecko & Associates
250-575-6448
tvrecko[at]kelowna[dot]remax[dot]ca
http://www.quincyvrecko.com/

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Tracey Vrecko
@QuincyVrecko
since: 10/2012
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