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Special Needs Advocacy Collaborative welcomes inclusive changes at children’s fair

The Children’s Fair, a staple of May in Quincy, hasn’t always been as inclusive for all Plumas County families as the Plumas County Special Needs Advocacy Collaborative (SNAC) would like. So this year, there will be some positive changes aimed at including more families — so all families can relax and have fun.

Family-friendly events can be over stimulating and overwhelming for special needs children and their families.

“Being on the autism spectrum can affect behavior and social skills. If people can’t physically see an issue they might not understand. Parents can feel that judgment. The collaborative tries to make people aware,” said Holly Klauck, from the Family Empowerment Center. She’s the new lead and contact for SNAC.

This year, the Children’s Fair will have a “magic morning” time from 10 to 11 a.m. — anyone can come at that time, but that time period specifically will not have loud siren sounds and have low sensory activity. More time with the climbing wall.

“Letters are going out to vendor booths about Special Needs awareness — to be aware and not judgmental of families,” said Klauck. Children with special needs might need extra time at activity booths to complete activities.

Extra chairs and tables will be available in areas where children and their parents can rest from over-stimulation.

SNAC hopes to collaborate with Plumas Unified School District to have a calming area — Klauck hopes the Mineral Building with low, dimmer lighting and places to sit might be a great place families can relax without fear of their children bolting out into the street or in harm’s way.

The Children’s Fair is on Saturday, May 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the fairgrounds.

The SNAC group doesn’t seek to reinvent the wheel, but rather to focus their energy on making already existing events, facilities and activities for children more inclusive of special needs children.

They’d also like to work on area pools to accommodate special needs children — either with specific swim times and possibly with the use of outside floaties during that time.

SNAC currently has 16 members, mostly in Quincy. Klauck plans to expand and work with families in Chester and Portola as well. The group meets quarterly, but would like to have meetings that rotate throughout the county monthly.

“The goal is to reach families all over the county and have county-wide meetings, in person or with Zoom (an internet meeting application).

For more information about SNAC, contact Holly Klauck at  283-4453 ext. 880, or email her at hklauck@plumasruralservices.

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