Sensory friendly time with Santa

Sensory friendly time with Santa

Sensory friendly time with Santa

"The children's families are able to make an appointment so the children don't have to wait in line quite as long, and it generally makes for a much more positive meaningful experience with Santa", Pinsky said.

Santa's team says making children of all ages smile is part of the magic of the season.

Northlake Mall held a special event called "Soothing Santa" that allows children living with autism to take pictures with Santa and pass along their wish list before the mall opened. "Because if we had to come and wait an hour, it would not go well, so it would just be something that we wouldn't do and miss out on", said Brett Flannery.

"I took my son to visit Santa". "He needs a lit bit more calm so we thought that would be good to do on Sunday morning".

"He doesn't like crowds", said parent Angie Flannery.

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"His attitude and his reaction right now, the mood he's in is because of this, you know?" said Smith.

This year, Autism Speaks partnered with Oak Park Mall to make several changes to this classic holiday tradition. We are just aware of all of those sensory overloads, so there is not that pressure of stand in the line, be quiet, and don't touch anything.

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

"When things are loud, he has a problem with it, bright lights really affect him, lots of people around affect him", Ogletreet said. "People who have kids who don't have disabilities, they don't understand what something so simple, as a picture with Santa, means to us".

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