During the holidays, so many parents want a photo of their child beaming up at Santa Claus or sitting on his lap while rattling off a list of what they’d like most for Christmas. And while we all know getting a good photo of any kid is a feat in and of itself, for parents with children who have autism, this poses even more of a challenge. Kids with autism are often withdrawn and quiet; they aren’t necessarily the first to smile and openly greet strangers, which is why Autism Speaks is teaming up with The Noerr Programs, a company that provides photo experiences for the holidays to help create magical memories with sensory-friendly Santa events.
On December 4th, for two hours prior to mall openings, over 180 malls across the U.S. will be offering this special sensory-friendly Santa experience for children with special needs. Participating malls include SIMON Malls and Washington Prime Group Malls. These special Santas will do whatever it takes to make the children comfortable, allowing parents to capture these moments on camera.
With this controlled and welcoming environment, families can avoid the hustle and bustle of the mall and treat their little ones to a day we’re sure they won’t forget. After all, meeting Santa is a rite of passage every child should get to experience.
Lisa Goring, chief program and marketing officer for Autism Speaks, told The Mighty:
“Programs like our sensitive Santa experience play an important role in providing families affected by autism with the opportunity to participate in an activity that may be difficult for some to attend.”
You can visit AutismSpeaks.org to see if your mall is offering a sensory-friendly Santa experience and to register for the event.