CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) – Thousands upon thousands of people are expected to take to Broadway Street in Cape Girardeau this Sunday for the Old Town Cape Parade of Lights. Along with the parade comes a lot of noise that might be a bit overwhelming for some, though. For this reason, the Catapult Creative House provides a safe, autistic- and sensory-friendly place inside for anyone to watch the parade.
“I just think it’s really good for the whole community and it raises awareness,” Meghan Tyson said. “Everyone should feel welcome. Everyone should feel safe. I think that’s just a great way to go about it.
At a recent meeting, Tyson brought up the idea of including a safe place for children and adults.
“I really try to bring some sensory and autism awareness to Cape Girardeau,” Tyson said. “My son is autistic and is 7 years old. I would love to bring her to all these events we have. But, for him, it becomes a bit overwhelming.
Catapult Creative House’s Christy Merson was with Tyson when he talked about the idea.
“We were actually talking about the Christmas lights parade that Old Town (Cape Town) is sponsoring,” Mershon said. “Meghan mentioned how difficult it is if you’re a parent with an autistic child or any other special needs; bring your child to a parade because of the lights and noise. She said it would be great if there was a space and currently, as part of my duties here at the university, I oversee the Catapult Creative space. I thought why not just open it up and create a safe space for parents who needed this type of accommodation.
Catapult Creative House is on Broadway, 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 bit of sound buffering. Also, if you have a child who needs to be safe and confined, it’s a way to still feel like you’re part of that community experience, but in a much safer environment.
Sponsors of this safe space include Moms of Real Estate and the Southeast Missouri Network Against Sexual Violence. Hot chocolate, cookies, toys and crafts are also provided for children.
The 30th annual parade of lights will begin at 5 p.m. Sunday in Cape Girardeau. The parade will begin in Capaha Park and head east on Broadway, turning right on Main Street and ending in the parking lot in front of Hutson’s Big Sandy Furniture.
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