December Lake County Special Needs Calendar

Special fun for Special Needs

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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.

Lake County special needs calendar

December Lake County Special Needs Calendar

Weekly Events for Children with Special Needs:

Open Play
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.

Every Friday, 10-11:00 a.m.
Gigi’s Playhouse at Bannockburn Green, 2511 Waukegan Rd., Bannockburn
Language, Music N’ Our Peeps (LMNOP) guides parents and infants through learning basic sign language and through incorporating music and dance therapy into daily activities, to stimulate the child. Recommended for children newborn-36 months old.

Santa Visits for Children with Special Needs

Soothing Santa
1 & 8 December 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.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.

Soothing Santa
8 December 9:00 – 11:00 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.

Caring Santa
8 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
1 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.

Special Needs Family Night
3 December 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Rockin’ Jump, 950 Busch Parkway, Buffalo Grove
$15 for unlimited jumping, chaperones jump for free. A sensory-friendly environment maintained.

Sensory Hour
6 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.

Destination Discovery
11 December, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Gigi’s Playhouse at Bannockburn Green, 2511 Waukegan Rd., Bannockburn
Supports the development of fine motor skills, gross motor skills, social skills and language through purposeful play and peer to peer interaction in a casual and fun setting.  All ages welcome.

Sensory Friendly Films
14 & 28 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!

Child Development Screening
14 November, 10-11:30 a.m.
Zion-Benton Public Library, 2400 Gabriel Ave., Zion
Screen your child to see if they are on the right track in 5 key areas (communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving & personal-social).  Afterward, receive information on activities you can do with your child to enhance their growth and support their development. The questionnaires screen children from birth through five years old. Screened children can take home a free prize book. Drop-ins accepted but registration preferred. Appointments take ~20 minutes. Cuestionario en Espaňol también.

Do you know of a program or event we missed? Share it in the comments so we can add it!

Download a printable calendar of this month’s events. Click on the image to download and save a copy to print off or share with other families:

Download the December Special Needs Calendar

About Melissa Haak 626 Articles
Melissa is mom to 4. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She can be found on most social media sites as @PBinmyHair because with this much hair and four kids, you're bound to find something in it.

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