Local mall offers “Sensory Santa” event for children with Autism

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP, Dauphin County, Pa.-- The holiday season is an exciting time, especially for children. But, for children with Autism, it can be more frustrating than merry.

One group is trying to change that. The "Santa Cares" organization travels across the country to provide a sensory-friendly experience for children with all spectrums of special needs.

On Sunday, youngsters and their families gathered at Colonial Park Mall in Lower Paxton Township, Dauphin County for their chance to see Santa.
The mall dimmed the lights, lowered the music and gave kids extra time to interact with Jolly Ole' Saint Nick.  For those families, that made all the difference to their kids.

"It's awesome. There are so many opportunities out there that we are just not able to do, so knowing we can come here each year, it's just definitely a blessing," said parent Kristy Miller.

Kyle Fletcher, who brought his daughter to the event, says, "She's four or five-year old and we have just never been able to do this before, so I think this picture, the one we got today is really the only one with her and Santa being happy. So for me it's great as a parent to be able to see that and make those memories."

Capitol City Mall in Cumberland County has also hosted the event for a few years and says it's a great way for kids and their families to feel included at this busy time of the year.