Published: Tue, December 05, 2017
Health Care | By Alberto Manning

Sensory-friendly Santa Claus experience available for kids with special needs

Sensory-friendly Santa Claus experience available for kids with special needs

More than 30 families took advantage of the opportunity.

Santa and his helpers gave access to his Wonderland for the families who signed up, before the mall opened.

Santa's team says making children of all ages smile is part of the magic of the season. "Family's with other children they've never had a family photo together, and it's just special because we create a sensory free environment for these children". "I hope that we get more programs in the Pinebelt where the Autistic community can go, have more quiet hours, and act like neurotypical children".

"It's epic! It's huge", said parent Pam Dore.

"His attitude and his reaction right now, the mood he's in is because of this, you know?" said Smith. "We've actually started very early this morning, so that we could see those children".

Sensitive Santa is held in partnership with Autism Speaks, which is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

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Smith says she appreciates any events that specify time for her son Caleb and children like him.

"It could mean just not being able to cope at all - lots of screaming and yelling and not being physically able to be in that environment".

"It's awesome. There are so many opportunities out there that we are just not able to do, so knowing we can come here each year, it's just definitely a blessing", said parent Kristy Miller.

"When things are loud, he has a problem with it, bright lights really affect him, lots of people around affect him", Ogletreet said.

In all, about thirty families were able to take pictures with Santa during Sunday's event.

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