Mom Opens Special Party Venue Catering to Kids With Autism
Apple| | By Lauren Boudreau
Even though the number of children with autism born in the United States has been steadily increasing, it seems that places that cater to them haven’t. At least that’s what one mom found out when she searched for a venue for her 2-year-old daughter’s birthday. According to ABC News, Raquel Noriega needed to find a place that would only hold one party at a time and wasn’t too crowded or busy for her daughter Ava.
It’s widely known that those with autism frequently have issues processing sensory information, which makes it hard to go to places like the mall or an amusement park where there is so much going on. “Most venues…had too much stimulation, music going, lights going. It was just chaos, and it’s not really good for a child with sensory issues,” Noriega told ABC. She also said that she didn’t celebrate Ava’s first birthday because she couldn’t find a venue. Thankfully, Noriega found Pixie Dust, a small venue in Bay Shore, New York. She then did something incredible: She bought it, and turned it into a venue that caters to kids with special needs. Pixie Dust is a fully customizable experience. The lighting, sound, and length of play time can be adjusted for a child’s specific needs. ABC also reports that Pixie Dust offers “sensory play, which stimulates the five senses – from playing with colorful scented rice to fiddling with musical instruments.” All events are also monitored by a staff member who is experienced in special education and therapy. Noriega explained that she recently booked a child who didn’t like noise: “So we sat around in a circle and whispered songs. We didn’t shout them. The whispering didn’t bother the other kids. But if you don’t have those options available, the child will not enjoy the party. They could have a meltdown and then they’d have to leave.” Pixie Dust also offers food to cater to children with food allergies by using a nut-free bakery that has a wide array of allergy-free desserts. Noriega told ABC that she hopes her business can help other struggling parents and their kids. “I’m open to do anything to make them have a memorable birthday,” she added.
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