Sensitive Santa provides security for children

Annual holiday event provides alternative to families, locals



A child visits Santa during Sensitive Santa last year. This will be the third year Humanities of the Palouse has hosted the event.

KAYLA SIMONSON, Evergreen reporter

Sensitive Santa is an event during which children with special needs can visit Santa without the commotion of the typical visitation atmosphere.

Jason Radtke, who will impersonate Santa this year, said he and his wife have a child on the autism spectrum, and they saw this event as important.

“Every kid deserves to see Santa,” he said, “no matter what.”

He said he was most looking forward to simply interacting with the children.

Unlike other Santa visitations in the area, there will not be long lines, bright flashing lights or loud noises, he said.

Humanists of the Palouse, which hosts the event, is a community organization that provides a way of rational thought, President Cassie Seubert said.

“It is intentionally a low-key event to help avoid sensory issues,” Seubert said.

A variety of people have come in the past, she said, including children on the autism spectrum and those with physical disabilities, such as deafness.

This will be the third year Humanists of the Palouse have hosted this event. The first year, about 15 people showed up, including disabled adults from Milestone Decisions, a home in Moscow for people with intellectual disabilities.

Last year was less successful, Radtke said, as there was a giant snowstorm on the day of the event.

He said he would like to keep Sensitive Santa going for as many years as possible.

“It’s a necessary service,” he said.

There will be a photographer to take pictures at Sensitive Santa. Pictures will be available to download free following the event, according to Humanists of the Palouse’s Facebook, and snacks and refreshments will be provided.

In February, they will host an event called Darwin on the Palouse, in which they bring in speakers to discuss science topics, such as Darwinism and other evidence-based subjects.

Humanists of the Palouse will provide coats, gloves, toys and gifts to families in need in the area.

Sensitive Santa is one of the ways they have been involved in giving back to the community, but they also have adopted a stream and helped with local homeless shelters.

Sensitive Santa will take place from 1 – 5 p.m. Saturday at the BookPeople of Moscow, located on 521 S. Main Street.