Being Santa for Children with Special Needs

The video & a 7 page "Tip's from Santa's" PDF doc is now available.

Complete the form below to become a FREE Member, create your User Name & Password and you will be able to access the video immediately. 

Patrick de Haan, MAPC – Besides being Arizona’s Santa Claus for Homeless, Impoverished, and Special Needs Children for the past 30 years, Patrick also has thirty-five years’ experience designing and managing programs for children who are dually-diagnosed (developmentally disabled and mentally ill).  Through innovative application of Expressive Arts Therapy techniques developed  during his post-graduate studies, Patrick specializes in serving children with intense behaviors and expressive/receptive communication challenges.
Debra Rickey, MSW – Debra currently is the Director of Specialized Foster Care with AASK (Aid to Adoption of Special Kids) in Phoenix AZ, where she facilitates licensure and monitors foster homes that care for children with developmental disabilities. Debra has a background in child welfare that spans 35 years, the last 29 years of which have been in Arizona, working 10 years in foster home licensure for the Division of Developmental Disabilities and later in the provider community doing the same.  

Melanie Martin, BA – Melanie has been in the field of education for over 15 years. She is currently the Early Childhood Specialist at the Children's Museum of Phoenix (CMOP), after serving as a teacher for special needs preschool and second grade. Melanie has worked with children with a variety of special needs throughout her career and continues to support families with special needs by training staff and coordinating events and programs for families with special needs children at the Children's Museum of Phoenix.  Melanie’s teaching certifications include: Elementary Education, Special Needs Birth to 5, with endorsements in Early Childhood and English as a Second Language.

Kevin Haislip, Foster and Adoptive Parent, Santa Claus for 7 years– Kevin and his wife Jody have 15 children, 13 adopted, most special needs who they have been raising for the last 34 years.  All our children are adults now and most are on their own.  The children came from all variety of situations: from neglect and abandonment, drug and alcohol affect, severe handicaps, to unimaginable and horrific abuse.  My training in working with and loving children with various challenges has helped me immeasurably as a Santa.  We often do not have more than 2 or 3 minutes at best, but I have learned some basic and specific actions that have greatly enhanced a child's time with Santa who has special needs.  The best part is that I have come to truly enjoy and love these children.

During the session you will learn specific things you can do to recognize and create a wonderful Santa experience for children with many common types of Special Needs including Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy, Cognitive/Intellectual Disability (Mental Retardation) as well as Medical Issues including: Cancer, Heart Defects, Muscular Dystrophy and more.

The session will also touch on the sensitive issues of: Anxiety, Depression, Loss (Death, Incarceration, Deployment, Home, etc.) Behavior Issues: Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and more.

WHO: All Santa's & Mrs. Claus's are welcome. Join below and receive immediate access to this video & more….

WHEN: Immediate Access – Recorded Thu, May 12, 2016 

WHERE: Online – this is a video recording of a live webinar. You can attend from any computer, tablet or smart phone with an Internet connection.

Join here it's FREE! 


COMMENTS ABOUTBeing Santa Claus for Children with Special Needs

“I absolutely loved the panel format. You picked the cream of the crop to assist with the discussion. I'm motivated beyond belief!”

“I loved what I heard from each of the panel members tonight.”

“I was just blown away. Especially with the two Santa’s. They moved me to want to be better at loving ALL the children.”

“My wife and I were very impressed, both of us have over 30 years in the Special Education area. Great to see what Santa's are doing to accept and treat the special needs population in a professional way.”

“This was an amazing and helpful webinar. Thank you for making it available to non-members.”

“Great session, I really like the real life examples.”

“I believe this session was covered very well and will benefit me greatly in my own real life experiences in the future.”

“I really liked the class and feel as if I am better prepared to handle more special needs situations this coming season. Overall, great offering Ed thanks.”

“I enjoyed the webinar and thought the format was a great way to cover a lot of ground. Learned a lot that is applicable to children of all ages and when you think about it, every one of them is special in some way.”

“Best ever….great offering to the Santa community. Thanks, Ed!!”

“I think it was very informative. Some settings you’re not sure what Santa may have the opportunity to witness. Some things to think about and remember should an opportunity present itself.”

“Another Hit,Thanks Ed,keep -em coming.”

“GREAT JOB !!! Ed Taylor Thank you for all of your time and effort.”


"I am a 30 year special education teacher but I can't begin to tell you just how much I learned last night.   I took pages and pages of notes.    

All the panelist had very insightful information to share. I was so glad to hear them talk about the effects of trauma for children whom have been sexually abused and the role that Mrs. Claus can play in helping to aid in reducing the possibility of causing further harm to children whom find themselves in that situation.    

I feel like I gained so much insight and practical information from the other side of the chair. My husband and I are a brand new Santa and Mrs. Claus and although we have over 50 years in combined experience in working with special needs populations, we have never filled this particular role before.  Since our heart is bent towards serving this VERY special population we are so very grateful to your panel for the information provided, for the opportunities you are providing for us to learn and for the added confidence that we are gaining as we move towards our fist Christmas season."

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