Santa Offering Sensory-Friendly Events Nationwide
Ahead of his big night, hundreds of special events across the country will offer kids with disabilities a chance to visit with Santa Claus in a calmer setting.
Some 747 sensory-friendly Santa events are planned at 582 shopping centers in the United States and Canada this holiday season.
The so-called “Santa Cares” events will feature dimmed lights and music set to a lower volume. Santa is specially trained before all of the events to take cues from parents and on interacting with children who have special needs.
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“Most of all, Santa remains flexible, standing behind his chair or kneeling beside a wheelchair to capture unforgettable moments and smiles on camera,” said Ruth Rosenquist of Cherry Hill Programs, which organizes the events in conjunction with Autism Speaks.
“Santa Cares” events are held at malls and other shopping centers before they open for the day to allow visits with Santa before the crush of holiday shoppers arrive.
To participate, families are asked to reserve a time online in advance so that children with special needs can be called up individually and don’t have to wait in line.
Events will be held on Nov. 24, Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 at various locations across the country and are open to individuals of all ages.