A Quiet, Less Stimulating Time with Santa

Sensory Friendly Time with SantaFamilies of children with autism or other special needs know that a trip to a shopping mall can be challenging—particularly around the holidays.  Crowded stores, loud music and long lines can make the experience especially difficult.  The Barber National Institute is sponsoring a Sensory-Friendly Time with Santa for children with special needs on Sunday, Dec. 4, from 9:30-11:00 a.m. at the Millcreek Mall.

This event will provide an opportunity for children and families to enjoy their visit outside of Santa’s regular hours and music will be turned off, creating a less stimulating and calmer atmosphere. 

“Some children with autism can handle the energy of a busy mall around Christmastime, but many others have a hard time tolerating the intense sounds and sights,” said Dr. Maureen Barber-Carey, executive vice president at the Barber National Institute.  “We have worked with the Millcreek Mall to set aside a time outside of their usual hours to create an experience that reduces the stress for children and their parents.”

When they arrive, parents will receive a number that will be be called when it is their child’s turn to see Santa.  While they wait, youngsters can enjoy activities such as facepainting, holiday crafts, and games on an iPad.  Information and resources will also be available for parents.

While parents/guardians are not permitted to take their own photos, Santa’s photographers will provide a free photo with qualifying purchase.

For more information, please call the Barber National Institute at 878-5903.


 2016 Time with Santa 


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