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Malls Offering Quiet Santa Visits for Kids With Autism

Beth Orlando

A visit with Santa Claus at the mall can be an overwhelming experience for any kid, but especially for some kids with autism. The loud noises, crowds and loud holiday music can be unbearable.

I love what some malls across the United States are doing. They’re rolling out programs that offer quiet visits with Santa for kids with autism. Malls with the program offer one on one time with Santa before operating hours, minus the crowds and hoopla.

Penndy Madsen is a parent of an autistic son in Virginia Beach who teared up when she watched him meet Santa. She said, “He’s such a great kid, but he has such an aversion to other people, strangers usually …so when he just jumped on his seat with Santa, it really tore me up.”

I’ve got a lot of friends who have kids with autism and I really hope this spreads and that every mall across the U.S. considers doing something like this so that the little ones don’t have to miss out on the magic of the Christmas season.

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