Sensitive Santas can make Christmas extra special for Kids and Families with Autism.
Visiting Santa at the Mall, local Christmas Tree lighting, or any huge crowd is a rite of passage for many families. But, for those on the Autism spectrum or many other disabilities, the crowds, the noise, and idea of sitting on a stranger’s lap can be way overwhelming.
However, some dedicated Santas/Father Yules/Father Christmas’ are making sure no one has to miss out. They, like myself, offering time with “Sensitive Santas”, a quieter, more intimate experience with Father Yule. I tailored each kids visit with me to their specific needs, (with disabilities or not.)
This idea for me, Father Yule John, came around because of all the kids I worked with on special needs school buses as a drive and then an aide. You would hear the stories about a family who tried to go to a mall, having to stand in the long line and finally the child would have a complete meltdown. With my visit, I come to their home, a safe place for the children and families, and spend time in a quiet atmosphere with a beautiful child who I, as Santa, have been briefed on for their individual needs. Some kids like to communicate with an iPad or simply start the session with a high-five, Other kids may prefer that all the lights be turned off and me, Santa, pretending to be asleep.
“I’ll watch movies, play video games, even mobile games, like Angry Birds with them. We’ll read a book together, it’s meant to be a low-pressure situation.”
This special time with the children can be the first time the whole family gets their very first picture with Santa. That make these event even more special for me.
We take for granted… most people just go to a regular mall and get a picture with Santa, but for other families it’s really difficult. There’s should be a huge demand for “Sensitive Santas,” and I hope a few more places will addressing their need.
“Sensitive Santa” Father Yule John