JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL)- As hundreds across the country gather at the mall to get their picture with Santa this season, one local event offers a less stressful way for children with special needs to meet Santa.
The event is called Sensitive Santa. This is the Johnson City Mall’s 7th annual, partnering with Autism Speaks.
Angie Jordan said her six-year-old son Aiden looks forward to seeing Santa every year.
“We have pictures from every year, so we have three photos on our refrigerator and we will have another one at the end of today,” Angie said.
Sensitive Santa allows Aiden to meet Santa with out the stress of crowds, loud music and bright lights. The event brings in a Santa that is more approachable for children like Aiden.
“The activities here are very friendly to children with sensory needs and autism,” Angie said. “Aiden can play with the ball pit while he’s waiting, he can play in the rice with his fingers. It’s just made really well for children with autism.”
It’s a judgment free zone that Aiden’s dad, Erick Jordan, said is rare for families who have children with special needs.
“A lot of times other parents they don’t necessarily understand what you are going through but everyone her is very understanding,” Erick said.
As for what Aiden asked Santa for Christmas this year, Angie said it’s a toy that is great for children with Autism.
“He wants a water marble race,” Angie said.
Mall officials said about 70 children came out on Sunday for the event, a number they hope continues to grow.Copyright WJHL 2017. All rights reserved.