BAY SHORE, N.Y. — In search of an oasis for her daughter Ava, who has autism, Raquel Noriega created Pixie Dust in Bay Shore on Long Island.
Noriega said she found the usual children's party venues overwhelming and overstimulating for her little one. So when an existing business went up for sale she jumped at the opportunity.
"This place was created to be soothing to children. We have soothing lights. We have soothing music usually playing. I just wanted a peaceful feeling when you walk in the door," explained Noriega.
The concept at Pixie Dust is simple and the ambiance almost immediately calming. While it does also cater to mainstream children, its focus remains on children with special needs.
Sensory issues are what Noriega targets most. Bigger venues created issues because of the flashy lights, loud noises and crowds for children with autism. All of it combined would often times cause meltdowns for special needs children and for the parents? Nothing but stress.
For moms like Amy Lebron, Pixie Dust was a haven. Her 3-year-old son Aiden was only recently diagnosed with autism.
He's been on the spectrum officially for only a month. Lebron says at Pixie Dust, she sees her son flourishing.
Noriega hopes to expand not only nationally, but internationally.
She told PIX11 she's received phone calls and emails from other mothers like her who want to open up their own shops all over the world.
In the meantime, in Bay Shore, Noriega's staff will be trained and certified to work with children with autism in August. It's just one of many goals she has set for her team.
For more information about Pixie Dust, visit their website.