Santa Cares brings comfort to parents with special needs children

Kristen Gonzales
December 5, 2017

Sunday morning at Springfield Town Center Santa welcomed children with special needs for a special sensory-friendly event.

While special accommodations were made for children with special needs, their siblings and family were also welcome.

Santa and his helpers gave access to his Wonderland for the families who signed up, before the mall opened. To accommodate them, the mall put on low lights, turned off all music and other sounds to keep the set quiet.

Coastal Grand Mall teamed up with Autism Speaks, Champion Autism Network, Cherry Hill Programs and The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce to organize the sensory friendly experience. "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".

"In an environment like this, where there's not very many people and it's not very loud, he can come in and see Santa and sit on Santa's lap and Santa can talk to him and he can have a more normalized experience", she says.

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"Having a special needs child, we don't really get out with him a whole lot, especially this time of year".

For Stephanie Ewert, this is only the second time her 12-year-old son Jaden has been able to see Santa. He gets overstimulated with the crowds.

Smiles could be seen across children's faces as they passed Santa's Wonderland in Grapevine Mills.

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

"It's very important", said Santa "I mean, that's what Christmas is all about".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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