In the past we’ve talked about different places – such as museums and movie theatres – that have made special arrangements for those with autism in order to make visits more sensory-friendly. Some malls across the country are doing something similar this holiday season by offering special Santa visits. This is a time where, in some cases, the lights are lowered, store music is turned off and lines are short, eliminating some of the distracting and/or upsetting environmental factors that may impact an autistic child during a trip to see Santa.
Two malls currently offering “sensory-friendly” Santa hours include Maine Mall – which offered four ‘Caring Claus Sundays’ – and Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia – which provided the Autism Society of Tidewater a chance to visit with Santa before the mall opened (check out this article).
This is yet another great example of how businesses and local organizations are giving families the opportunity to enjoy time together – it’s just a little adjustment for these businesses, but a world of difference for families touched by autism.
I’m sure there are more malls and locations that may offer something similar this holiday season, so if you know of one, please share it with us here!
Lynsey, Community Manager