Special Needs Children Meet Santa at Unique Event

Two kids posing with Santa at West County Center. Credit KMOV

The "Santa Cares" organization travels across the country to provide a sensory-friendly experience for children with all spectrums of special needs.

The mall opened several hours early to avoid the crowds and parents were asked to register in advance to avoid long lines.

The holiday season is an exciting time, especially for 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. "It's just special because we create a sensory friendly environment for these children without the lights, music, and different faces".

Breanne Hartfield, a parent, says she found out about the event through Facebook and couldn't pass up the opportunity.




"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.

Stephanie Ewert brought her 12-year-old son Jaden. "So, just to be able to get this one-on-one time without the crowd is a blessing for us".

"I took my son to visit Santa. This is the first time he would talk to Santa and actually sit on his lap" says Whitney Wardlow.

So in years to come, when families look back on their holiday photos, they can remember a good day with snacks, family and Santa.

Police say someone on the naughty list stole a Santa suit and hat valued together at $520 from a Pennsylvania mall.

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