The Richmond Register

Local News

December 2, 2013

Special visit planned for children with autism

‘Sensory Santa’ will be part of library’s Christmas party

RICHMOND — Seeing Santa at the mall might be enjoyable for some children and scary for others, but for most families, it is an annual tradition that fills their photo albums with unforgettable photos.

However, for parents of children with autism, the Santa visit often is impossible.

“There’s loud noises, long lines and flashing lights,” said Jennifer Gray, who along with her husband, Ryan, have a 6-year-old son with autism. “They get overwhelmed.”

This year, families like hers will be able to enjoy the Christmas tradition of a visit with St. Nick on Saturday at the Madison County Public Library in Richmond through an event called Sensory Santa.

The Grays, who are from Corbin, founded Kentucky Sound Down in 2011, a nonprofit that provides events for children with autism or sensory-processing issues and their families to enjoy.

The Sensory Santa is planned in conjunction with the library’s annual Christmas party. A room will be set aside from 10:30 to 12:30 called the “relaxation room” where special-needs children and their families can take a break from the normal hubbub of the party.

From noon to 1 p.m., Santa will visit the room. However, he will simply walk around and not approach children, Gray said.

“Santa’s not going to be loud and boisterous,” Gray said. “They can approach Santa on their own.”

Parents will be able to take pictures if they wish.

Richmond parents Khalil and Kristen Tibourtine, and their daughter, 8-year-old Emma, have participated in Kentucky Sound Down activities for about three years. Kristen is now a board member.

One of those activities are special screenings of children’s movies. Working in cooperation with a theater, the movies shown are not in 3-D, the rooms are not darkened all the way and children are allowed to get up from their seats.

Also, outside drinks and food are allowed to be brought in for children who have allergies.

Kristen Tibourtine said she was unable to take Emma to a movie before attending the special screenings because she knew her daughter would become easily overwhelmed and act out.

“You don’t want to ruin anyone else’s movie experience,” Tibourtine said.

However, now that Emma has gone to several movies with Kentucky Sound Down, she can attend regular cinema showings with no problem, Tibourtine said. The key was giving her the opportunity to have that learning experience in a supportive and nonjudgmental environment, her mother added.

Kentucky Sound Down is a nonprofit that is funded entirely by donations. The movie screenings are free to parents as is the Sensory Santa event Saturday.

Kentucky Sound Down also is sponsoring Sensory Santa events Dec. 14 at Belk in Corbin in and Dec. 21 at the public library in London.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at or 624-6694.

Text Only
Local News
  • 4-23 Gravestone.jpg In search of the last resting place

    At a popular illegal dump site off Bybee Loop in Waco, two marble grave markers were among some items found there by Pat and Ronnie Aldridge, residents who live about 250 yards from the area.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fiscal court awards EMA bids

    Two more bids were awarded at Tuesday’s Madison County Fiscal Court meeting for the emergency operations agency.

    April 22, 2014

  • 4-23 Peter Crowe.jpg Intoxicated man charged with wanton endangerment

    A 27-year-old Richmond man was charged Sunday with second-degree wanton endangerment after he was found intoxicated and walking with several young children in the Keystone Drive area, according to a Richmond police report.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Absentee voting available for May 20 election

    Walk-in absentee voting for the May 20 primary has begun and will continue until May 19, County Clerk Kenny Barger announced Tuesday at the Madison Fiscal Court meeting.

    April 22, 2014

  • 4-23 Tab-a-PULLooza1.jpg Friday last day to collect pop tabs for Tab-a-Pullooza

    Before throwing that soda can in the recycling bin, twist off the pop tab and donate it to a local elementary or middle school for this year’s Tab-a-Pullooza celebration.

    April 22, 2014 4 Photos

  • Pot throwing downtown leads to arrest

    A Berea man was arrested Saturday after police say he damaged a downtown Richmond business and a parked vehicle by throwing flower pots.
    Jonathan A. McCullough, 34, was charged with first- and third-degree criminal mischief as well as alcohol intoxication, according to a Richmond police report.

    April 21, 2014

  • London police chief ordered to stay away from Berea woman

    A woman who who moved to Berea in February 2013 after a live-in relationship with London Police Chief Stewart O. Walker has obtained an emergency protective order against him from Madison Family Court.

    April 21, 2014

  • Task force reveals plan to make ‘Meaningful Math' matter

    It’s all too common to hear parents say, “I was never good at math...,” as if to excuse their children for not being good at math, said Madison County Schools Superintendent Elmer Thomas.

    April 21, 2014

  • WP_20140419_001.jpg Cruisin’ with the Oldies

    With the sound of classic songs wafting through the air Saturday, hundreds of people took advantage of the summer-like temperatures and turned out for the Kirksville Community Center car show.

    April 21, 2014 9 Photos

  • 4-18 Hong Kong 1.JPG Hong Kong fifth-graders visit Kit Carson

    A group of students from Hong Kong got a taste of the bluegrass last week thanks to an invitational education program at Kit Carson Elementary School.

    April 21, 2014 3 Photos

AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Should Richmond rezone the southwest corner of Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue to B-1 (Neighborhood Business) with restrictions to allow construction of a financial services office?

     View Results