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Children with special needs don’t need to miss out on regular fun and open play. The Lake County Special Needs Calendar rounds up this month’s events for families and children with special needs all in one place. Unless otherwise stated, all events require preregistration. See the event listings for more information and to register.
December Lake County Special Needs Calendar
Weekly Events for Children with Special Needs:
Friday Night Dance Party
Every Friday, 6:30 p.m.
Denise Sabala Dance Studios, 560 W. Main St., Lake Zurich
This 45-minute class is catered to special needs students. Explore your body’s space around you through rhythm, music, socialization, and dancing.
Every Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
GiGi’s Playhouse, 5404 W. Elm St., McHenry
Families and their friends are invited to the playhouse for playtime. Open play helps promote positive beginnings for new families with a child with Down syndrome, creates awareness opportunities for peers and friends, and provides support and networking for families. Come ready for fun and a crazy good time! Open to families with children of all ages and their friends.
Santa Visits for Children with Special Needs
Sensory Friendly Holiday Party
1 December 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Lake Villa Community Center, 37908 N. Fairfield Rd., Lake Villa
The event will have Santa, Food, Games, and raffles, sensory items, quiet areas and more. Please bring canned goods to be donated to North Point food pantry. *Registration Required*
2 December 8:00 – 9:30 a.m.
Hawthorn Mall, 122 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills
Soothing Santa is a sensory-friendly opportunity for children with all spectrum’s of special needs to enjoy the time-honored tradition of the Santa Photo Experience with their family in a calming environment prior to public hours.
2 & 9 December 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.
The Arboretum of South Barrington, 100 W. Higgins Rd., South Barrington Individuals with all spectrums of special needs and their families are invited to a private photo session where extra care is taken to support the sensory, physical and other developmental needs to make this a magical holiday experience. Reservations Required.
2 December 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Gurnee Mills, 6170 Grand Ave., Gurnee
Children will have the opportunity to visit with Santa and have their photo taken with him. Gurnee Mills will make necessary adjustments to the environment to support the sensory, physical and other developmental needs of children of all abilities for this special event. *Registration Required*
Special Events for Children with Special Needs
Sensory Sensitive Sundays
2 December 9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Chuck E. Cheese, 700 N. Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills
Enjoy games and food with reduced lighting and noise. Staff will be trained and caring about autism and other special needs.
Sensory Friendly Movie at Antioch Theatre
2 December 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Antioch Theatre, 378 Lake St., Antioch
The Antioch Theater is showing a special screening of the movie Wreck it Ralph 2 for special needs children and their families. The sound will be turned down and the lights will be turned up. Tickets available at the box office, refunds offered until 10:30 a.m.
Special Needs Family Night
4 December 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Rockin’ Jump, 950 Busch Parkway, Buffalo Grove
$15 for unlimited jumping, chaperones jump for free. Sensory friendly environment maintained.
Special Night for Special Needs
5 December 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Jump America, 880 Lakeside Dr., Gurnee
Enjoy jumping with low noise and little distraction! $8 per jumper, one parent jump free.
7 December 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Raupp Museum, 901 Durnham Lane, Buffalo Grove
The Raupp Museum will be open with special activities suited to children with sensory processing issues, autism spectrum disorders, or who are differently-abled. History is for everyone; and, our staff will be on hand to help children engage with the exhibits in a supportive environment.
Sensory Friendly Films
8 & 22 December, 10:00 a.m.
AMC Theatre Northbrook Court, 1525 Lake Cook Rd., Northbrook and
AMC Theatre South Barrington 24, 175 Studio Drive, South Barrington
AMC is proud to partner with the Autism Society to offer unique movie showings where we turn the lights up, and turn the sound down so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing!
Down Syndrome Developmental Council (DDC) Monthly Playgroup
18 December 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Pediatric Interactions, 649 Barron Blvd., Grayslake
All family members are invited for an interactive group play therapy session. The session is led by a developmental therapist and hosted by various DDC parents and includes dinner. A Spanish language interpreter is available with advance notice. FREE of charge. RSVP to Kris Murray at (847) 630-4991; Spanish speaking families should contact Maria at (847) 219-9200.
Sensory Friendly Movie – Mary Poppins Returns
22 December 10:00 a.m.
Antioch Theatre, 378 Lake Street, Antioch
Tickets are available for $6 at the box office. The sound will be turned down and the lights will be turned on. Refunds will be available until 10:30 a.m.
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