The Christmas spirit will be spread far and wide with ‘sensory safe’ Santa sessions being held across the country this festive season for children with autism or sensory sensitivities.
The sessions, held in department stores, shopping centres and various other locations feature adjusted sensory friendly environments for children to enjoy a chat to the highly coveted man in red among quiet and calm surroundings.
South Australia and New South Wales are just two of the states getting involved.
Westfield will host ‘Quiet Santa’ events at Tea Tree Plaza, Marion, West Lakes, Castle Plaza, Elizabeth and Burnside Village Burnside Village, with pre-booked sessions to enable a seamless and stress free experience.
While, Dapto Mall in New South Wales will host sessions until 16 December.
Chief Executive Officer of Autism Awareness Australia, Nicole Rogerson says visiting Santa can be particularly overwhelming for children with autism and their parents.
“The crowds, noise, unfamiliar environment, bright lights, long queues can all be difficult for children on the spectrum to manage,” she explains.
“Making some small modifications to the experience helps tone down some of these challenges and remove the barriers that make it difficult for children to take part.”
“Having sensory friendly sessions that accommodate these challenges can be a huge help for families. It means they don't have to miss out, they can still take part in the festive fun and have a much greater chance of enjoying the experience.”
You can find sensory safe Santa sessions near you at the Sensory Souls website or Google ‘Sensory Santa [your state]’.