Sensory-friendly Santa creates magical moments for kids with special needs
The Fayette Mall and Santa himself are teaming up to make sure all kids feel included this holiday season. They created a sensory-friendly environment for kids with special needs.
During the event, accommodations were made to support the sensory, physical, and developmental needs of families, including muting music and keeping lights dimmed.
Mothers of children with special needs at the event say it helps the kids feel included.
Meredith Redfern has been taking her son, William, to the event for three years now. "We tried when he was younger, before sensory Santa’s were a thing, and it just really didn't work out. He couldn't stand the lines and there was so much noise. It just didn't work out. It was never a good experience," She explained. Redfern says this experience is the total opposite. "It's great that more people are realizing that they can in fact take their kids to see Santa Claus," she said with a smile. William’s service dog also got to visit Santa with him.
Bridget Stone says the positive experience builds up every year, so her son with autism feels more comfortable around Santa. "So then it's not like if last year we had a horrible experience with Santa then he's anxious about it again. So every year it gets better."
Fayette Mall hosts sensory-friendly events like this every holiday season. There is also a sensory-friendly Easter Bunny in the spring.