A Sensory Skate is hosted for children on the spectrum on November 10 at the Golden District Arena. Keri Sculland/Star Photo

Golden Arena turns the lights down for Sensory Skate

By Keri Sculland

Parents of children on the spectrum can enjoy a morning of quiet ice time mixed with sensory fun on November 10.

The lights will be lowered, and no music will play at this skating gathering at the Golden District Arena from 8:45 to 10:45 a.m. Children on the spectrum can enjoy games, snacks, and a skate, and parents and siblings are encouraged to enjoy the activities. Youth of any age are welcome at this event.

Parent Melissa Johnson got the idea for the Sensory Skate event after her son was put on the spectrum last year. He always enjoys going to watch the Golden Rockets, and really likes hockey.

But, getting on the ice was difficult for Johnson’s son. First, putting on skates and getting used to the feeling was new. Then, the ice was another challenge. Bright lights, music, and people of all ages and sizes skating around can be overwhelming for people on the spectrum.

“It took a couple times, but once we got his skates on him, he then would get to the edge of the ice and he would just kind of shut down,” Johnson said. “You could see it was overwhelming in his eyes.”

Johnson decided that she would book some ice time for her son to get familiar with skating, taking away all of the overwhelming aspects of a public skate session. Since she would be booking the ice anyway, she decided to open it up to other families and children in the community.

“I kind of thought, he can’t be the only child in our town that experiences this,” she said.

Understanding the challenge of getting on the ice, Johnson has prepared games off the ice, snacks, and tissue boxes for children to put on their feet so they can slide around on the ice without putting skates on.

“We’re going to have some sensory bags for them to play and touch and feel,” Johnson said. “We can hopefully just get them more used to the idea of skating.”

Parents can preregister their children for the Sensory Skate by e-mailing melli.johnson@hotmail.com, or by calling or texting 587-437-2847. Parents can also just drop in on November 10 from 8:45 to 10:45 a.m. to enjoy the morning with their children.

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