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Davidson County Mom Sparks Change For Special Needs Kids At Dixie Classic Fair

Dixie Classic Fair organizers gave her concern some consideration and have adopted her idea of a ride pass option for hypersensitive children instead of a wristband.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — After a Triad mom shared her ordeal at the Davidson County Fair, the Dixie Class Fair is making a change to help ease the stress on parents and kids with disabilities.

Jenna Nicholson said her family's trip to the county fair this past weekend turned into a disaster because of how staff members handled a wristband requirement for her 3-year-old son who has autism. 

Little Miles was not allowed to get on rides at the fair because he would not wear the wrist band on his wrist or ankle. 

Nicholson said her son is hypersensitive and gets very agitated when some things come into contact with his body.

She said she pleaded with the ride operators but they would not budge.

"Just because they won't wear the armband doesn't me they won't enjoy the ride. Sensory processing is different for every child," said Nicholson. 

After she shared her story with WFMY News 2, several parents contacted her to say they had the same experience with various fairs.

"It's preventing them from going and doing the same thing that other kids can do and they've all had similar experiences in it, breaks my heart," she said.

It spurred Nicholson and a friend to come up with a solution which they called the Bubby Pass and started a petition which has gotten several signatures in support.

"This would be a place here where you can put any armband for any event that you would be attending so my hope is that something like this can really happen."

But she didn't wait for it to just happen, she went into action to make it a reality.

 Nicholson and her friend contacted the Dixie Classic Fair with the idea for the entry card for some special needs kids instead of the wristband. 

"I just felt like I had to, that I would have been doing a great disservice to our community if I didn't really make something good come from this," she added.

Fair organizers gave her concern some consideration and have adopted the ride pass idea as an accommodation to other families like hers. 

"The card will be given to the caregiver or the parent and they will just show that card to any ride operator and they would be able to get on that ride just as if they were wearing a wrist band," said Siobhan Olson, a representative of the Dixie Classic Fair.

Olson said the mom's request and recommendation put a spotlight on a gap in making the fair, not just accessible but also an enjoyable experience for everyone.

"Just like some people are sensitive to gluten and others cannot eat peanuts, the reality is that sometimes people are sensitive to material and so we're trying to make sure that everybody can come and have a good time and not have any sensitivities," added Olson.

Dixie classic fair said they are still working out what the card will look like but add that the card is strictly for children with special needs and would only be available on a case by case basis.

Families with special needs child who would like to opt-in for the ride entry pass instead of a wristband will have to contact the fair's office to make the request ahead of time.

Entry into the fair is still the same as normal with purchased tickets which organizers encourage folks to get ahead of time as well.

The Dixie Class Fair starts next Friday in Winston-Salem.


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