Having a four year-old proves difficult when it comes to visiting Santa. I have many pictures of my now eight year-old crying on Santa’s lap. Now throw Autism into the mix and you can see why last year we didn’t get a picture with the Jolly guy. The waiting in line, scared toddler and fact that there wasn’t a bar at that mall all played into our lack of pictures.
This year I found out about Caring Santa.
Simon Malls is joining forces again this year with AbilityPath.org and Noerr Programs to bring “Caring Santa” back, but this time, to an unprecedented 81 malls across the country.
Due to this collaborative effort and greater mall participation this year, more children with special needs and their families will have an opportunity to participate in the time-honored holiday tradition of taking a photo with Santa in an environment set up to support the sensory, physical and other developmental needs of children with all abilities. Each mall will be asked to make some minor modifications to subdue the mall the morning of Caring Santa, and the result of that will be a magical experience for families; and some will walking away with their first-ever holiday photo of their child or family with Santa. Until now, visiting with Santa and the Bunny really wasn’t a reality for families of children with special needs.
Last year, families who have experienced Caring Santa expressed great appreciation to participating malls for the extra care and welcoming environment. While the accommodations made are for the child with special needs, often there are siblings who, as a result of their brother or sister’s disability don’t have the opportunity to partake in moments like these. The Caring Santa event is as much for them as it is for the child with a disability. It is truly a morning for making memories for children of all abilities!
In Colorado, Caring Santa will be at 2 different malls.
At the Town Center in Aurora on December 2nd from 9am to 10am (near Dillards) and Colorado Mills on December 9th from 9am to 10am in the kid court. To RSVP to the Aurora Event click here… and for Colorado Mills click here.
If you aren’t in Colorado, check out AbiltyPath’s website to find the mall, date and time nearest you!