At Malls Nationwide, Santa Goes Sensory-Friendly
As the holiday season gears up, hundreds of shopping centers from coast to coast will host special events designed to give kids with disabilities a chance to meet Santa Claus without all the usual frenzy.
More than 300 malls are set to participate in the events known as “Caring Santa” at Simon mall locations and “Sensitive Santa” at those owned by Washington Prime Group.
For the special times, Santa and other staff are trained to support children with various needs and their families, according to Cherry Hill Programs, which offers the modified Santa experiences in conjunction with Autism Speaks.
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Many of the sensory-friendly Santa events are held outside of normal shopping hours. Lighting and music are reduced and reservations are required to limit waiting and crowds.
“As a community-focused company committed to social responsibility, we strive to make our photo experiences more accessible and enjoyable for everyone,” said Chris Landtroop, vice president of marketing and communications at Cherry Hill Programs. “Our collaboration with Autism Speaks allows us to make the holiday season more inclusive and memorable for families with special needs.”
Most of the sensory-friendly Santa events will take place Sunday, but times vary by location.
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