Autism, also known as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a complicated condition that includes problems with communication and behavior. ASD can be a minor problem or a disability that needs full-time care. Children suffering from autism have difficulty in communicating, have trouble understanding what other people think and feel.
Children with ASD are highly sensitive to sounds, touches, and smells. Sometimes they don’t like being held or cuddled. This is why the organization ‘Autism Speaks’ took a step towards helping the parents who have autistic children. Autism Speaks conducts awareness and outreach activities aimed at families who have autistic children.
Taking your kids to Santa is a wholesome family tradition. Children are very excited to meet Santa. It is an overblown event of driving to a crowded mall, spending time at parking, waiting in a long line to meet Santa. Then, taking a picture of your kid with the Santa, making it all magical is really something special.
Autism Speaks conducted an event for parents, especially those who have children with special needs. Their aim was that the children can take part in traditional activities such as meeting Santa in the local malls. The program “Santa Cares” was started so that the special needs children could visit Santa in less frenetic settings. In this, different Santa underwent special training so they could better interact with the children, knowing their preferences and abilities.
SANTA CARES: This holiday season, malls across America are opening early – so children with autism can visit Santa Claus in a calmer setting ❤️ #sharethelove https://t.co/RQkrVgE2Ib pic.twitter.com/1LJr4X6F9q
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 12, 2019
Local malls didn’t fail to show their support for this program. They helped by opening early to help facilitate a smaller crowd. The music played was soft and had soothing tunes, lights were a little dim to create a pleasant environment. The different Santa even lay on the ground and stood behind their chairs to make sure the children felt comfortable.
All of this combined to bring about a much more attainable experience for kids like these who needed it. Two organizations – Autism Speaks and Cherry Hill Programs had partnered for “Santa Cares”. It was an event that involved hundreds of malls in the U.S. and Canada opening early than their usual timings. This was because the environment would be less hectic and the children with autism would come to see Santa.
There are hundreds of such events planned around the country for the sensory – friendly Santa experience for such special children. The basic aim of these programs is to create a more exclusive world for people with autism and events like these make such a meaningful impact in helping families feel comfortable, understood and accepted.