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Will you take your child to see Santa?

Posted by on Nov. 24, 2014 at 9:52 AM
  • 21 Replies

5 Tips to Make Santa More Merry & Less Scary for Kids With Autism

Santa ClauseLet's face it, Santa Clause can be a pretty creepy looking guy. Even for neurotypical kids, the thought of going and sitting on the lap of a stranger who looks like that can cause plenty of anxiety. But throw in some sensory issues and other challenges that come with autism, and the experience can be a disaster for children.

That doesn't mean, however, that they should have to miss out on the experience either. There are plenty of ways children with autism can experience all of the magic of the big guy that are less overwhelming than the typical mall experience. Here are a few:

1. Special Time With Santa

Some malls offer times with Santa just for children with autism. For example, at Southcentre mall in Calgary, they hosted a special event in which children got to visit Santa before the mall opened. The lights were dimmed, the music turned down, and the drone of the crowds was severely diminished.

2. Talk to Santa Ahead of Time

If you don't have a special event in your area, you can always approach Santa and his helpers ahead of time and explain the concerns you may have. Maybe that means not asking your child to sit on his lap, or that you need to be there with him or her, but most will be more than happy to accommodate.

3. Santa Makes House Calls

If you know someone with an extra red suit, perhaps a stop at your house before the big day could be arranged.

4. Send a Letter Instead

Some kids won't want to visit the big guy under any circumstances, and that's okay. You can help them craft a special letter to send off to the North Pole.

5. Get a Video Message From Santa

Portable North Pole offers free, personalized video messages from Santa. That way children can still feel like Santa has heard them whether they actually visited him or not.

If you have a child with autism, how has his or her Santa experience been? Any tips to add?

by on Nov. 24, 2014 at 9:52 AM
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Replies (1-10):
by Silver Member on Nov. 24, 2014 at 10:17 AM
Great ideas! Love it!
It's always a hit or miss. Mine are either all in for it or scream at the very thought. Makes the decision easy for us though.
by Member on Nov. 24, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Let's see. I have pictures with Santa spanning for years. Someone was always crying. My ASD son wouldn't sit in his lap, but would stand close enough to get a pic (when he wasn't actually crying....)

by Carissa on Nov. 24, 2014 at 2:35 PM

We go but we don't do the pics. 

by Jen on Nov. 24, 2014 at 3:00 PM
I don't know. He never has wanted to before. Usually we just go look at Santa lol
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by April on Nov. 24, 2014 at 3:05 PM
We walk by Santa and wave. That's the best we can manage. My ASD kiddo who is almost 4 doesn't have any understanding so the big man in a red suit must be scarey for him. And my 8 y/o decided recently he doesn't believe anymore because it just doesn't make sense. I'm a little bummed that no one is interested in Santa. Of course that's not the meaning of Christmas but it's fun and I'm a little sad :(
by Silver Member on Nov. 24, 2014 at 10:50 PM

I had read about sensitive santa in the malls specially for children with autism,  I would try it out this year.

by Bronze Member on Nov. 24, 2014 at 11:23 PM
1 mom liked this

Jacob does a little better with each year.I was thinking this year take toys r us ad. That way Jacob can point out what he wants.  And maybe just maybe he will kind of know what to say. And his little brother all excited but last year he left crying.  Chase says he wants to tell santa he wants a lot of toys cause he is a big boy and going on potty. lol

by Cathleen on Nov. 25, 2014 at 4:36 AM

Aidan is okay with Santa, so we'll probably take him again this year.

by Darby on Nov. 25, 2014 at 5:06 AM

Brady has no clue who Santa is nor does he care! LOL!  We will stay away from him this year:)

by on Nov. 25, 2014 at 6:40 AM

 Dillon likes to look at Santa from and we saw him twice already!

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