Youngsters and their families who find it difficult to attend events within the community gathered together on Wednesday at the Western District Fair for an exclusive event. Day of Dreams shuts the fair down to the public, and opens it for children with special-needs and their families to get in on the fun.
The Fair’s Communities Program Manager, Beth Sayler explains that the common fair setting is not for everyone, “A lot of times the fair can be too noisy, too loud, and too big for [children with special-needs.] So, this day gives those kids a chance to enjoy themselves.”
Sayler has never seen an opportunity in London similar to Day of Dreams, which is why she thinks this event is so special.
Cindy Kullbaba is a local Londoner that attended Day of Dreams with her son and husband. “Normally, I would never bring [my son] to the fair. It stresses him out. We have taken him to small town fairs and he still hasn’t loved it, but he loved Day of Dreams. It’s a lot quieter, he can go on rides over and over, he doesn’t have to wait in line, so it’s less stress and he can actually take the time to enjoy himself.”
Here are the type of atmospheres we need to create that work for children with special-needs:
- Interactive/sensory experiences
- The ability to come and go freely
- Lots of time, so the children can move at their own pace
- Well-organized events
- Space to move around
- Small amounts of people
“Few opportunities in London [like Day of Dreams] exist, and the ones that do are far in-between. It’s rare that you get these opportunities so you want to take advantage when you can.” Says Kullbaba
Kullbaba hopes the community can use Day of Dreams as a leading example to create more chances to get all kinds of families out of the house to enjoy themselves.
If your family has a child with special-needs and didn’t attend Day of Dreams this Fall, you can check out what the application process looked like here, to have an idea for next year. The event was inviting up to 500 children and their guests, which they are still working up to reaching.