Catapult Creative House offers autism and sensory friendly safe space for Parade of Lights
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Thousands and thousands are expected to line the street of Broadway in Cape Girardeau this Sunday for the Old Town Cape Parade of Lights. With the parade comes a lot of noises that might be a little overwhelming for some, however. Because of that, the Catapult Creative House is offering an autism and sensory friendly safe place inside for anyone to watch the parade.
“I just think it’s really good for the whole community and just making people more aware,” Meghan Tyson said. “Everyone should feel welcome. Everyone should feel safe. I think this is just a great way to make that happen.”
During a recent meeting, Tyson brought up the idea of including a safe place area for kids and adults.
“Really trying to bring some sensory and autism awareness to Cape Girardeau,” Tyson said. “My son is autistic and 7-years-old. I would love to bring him to all of these events that we have. But, for him it gets a little overwhelming.”
Christy Merson with the Catapult Creative House was with Tyson when talking about this idea.
“We were actually talking about the Christmas Parade of Lights that Old Town (Cape) sponsors,” Mershon said. “Meghan mentioned how hard it is if you are a parent with a child with autism or any other special needs; to bring your child to a parade because the lights and the noise. She said it would be great if there was a space and currently, as one of my duties here at the university, I’m supervising the Catapult Creative space. I thought why not just open it up and create a safe space for parents who made need that sort of accommodation.”
Catapult Creative House sits right on Broadway housed with large windows with space inside to meet the needs of many people.
“You really feel like you’re still on Broadway because of the front window spaces,” Mershon said. “But, there is some distance and a little bit of sound buffering. Then also, if you have a child that needs to be safe and contained, this is a way to still feel like you’re part of that community experience but to be in a much more safe environment.”
Sponsors for this safe space include Moms of Real Estate and the Southeast Missouri Network Against Sexual Violence. Hot chocolate, cookies, fidget toys and crafts are planned for the children as well.
The 30th annual Parade of Lights will kick off at 5 p.m. on Sunday in Cape Girardeau. The parade will start at Capaha Park and will travel east on Broadway, turning right onto Main Street and ending at the parking lot across from Hutson’s Big Sandy Furniture.
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