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Can you spot your child at Wiff Waff’s autism-friendly Christmas party?

Amie with her little boy Oskar  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Amie with her little boy Oskar Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

Excited children’s dreams came true when they got to meet Santa at an Ipswich bar’s autism-friendly Christmas party.

Abbey with her children Cian, Alaynor and Elsie  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAbbey with her children Cian, Alaynor and Elsie Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Wiff Waff, on Ipswich Waterfront, has been holding regular events for children with autism during school holiday periods this year.

Manager Malcolm Watkins and his wife Emma-Jayne noticed there were not many activities designed for children with learning difficulties - so decided to organise superhero, Disney and Halloween-themed parties to give those children a space to play in an accepting, normal environment.

Children enjoyed themselves at a festive play event held at Wiff Waff, designed specially for children with autism  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNChildren enjoyed themselves at a festive play event held at Wiff Waff, designed specially for children with autism Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

MORE: 'They are amazing' - Ipswich's Wiff Waff bar holds superheroes party for children with autism

The latest Christmas event on Monday, December 23 was a "child's dream being made" for many of the youngsters, as they got to meet Father Christmas and see a white Christmas thanks to some artificial snow.

Organisers Malcolm and Emma-Jayne Watkins  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNOrganisers Malcolm and Emma-Jayne Watkins Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

"It's been absolutely amazing," said Mrs Watkins.

"Everyone seemed happy. The children were very happy - it's just such a relaxed atmosphere for them.

Cian enjyoying himself at the event  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNCian enjyoying himself at the event Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

"Christmas can be very difficult for people with autism. It can be over-stimulating, with all the lights, baubles, tinsel and shiny things.

"As long as we can get them here to run riot and do what they want to do, the parents can just have a little break at a stressful time of year."

Amiyah and Kia-Rose Hardwick having fun at the event   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNAmiyah and Kia-Rose Hardwick having fun at the event Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

MORE: Ipswich's Wiff Waff bar to hold half-term Halloween party for children with autism

Mr Watkins said seeing one girl's excited reaction to meeting Santa reduced him and his wife to tears.

Farjana and Zaiden Rahmen at the Wiff Waff event specially designed for children with autism  SARAH LUCY BROWNFarjana and Zaiden Rahmen at the Wiff Waff event specially designed for children with autism SARAH LUCY BROWN

Wiff Waff plans to hold its next autism-friendly event during the February half-term.

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