23 Dec 2014

Santa Claus for Children on the Spectrum

Santa Claus for Children on the Spectrum

Author: Zach Gouldsmith  /  Categories: Holidays   /  Rate this article:
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Visiting Santa Claus and sitting on his lap to disclose a Christmas wishlist has long been a joyous experience for many children across the world. But waiting in line at a noisy mall can be a challenge for many restless children.  For children on the autism spectrum, meeting Santa has the potential to be problematic and may cause sensory overload.  

But here is the good news! Many places around the United States are implementing new ways for children with ASD to interact with Santa.  For example, a program at the We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym in Northridge, CA, allows children to enter a sensory-based gymnasium where they can play and approach Santa at their own pace with no lines to suffer through (Branson-Potts, 2014). Santa learns all of the children’s names beforehand and know not to ask questions because some children with ASD are non-verbal.

Also, a new website offers an unconventional way for children to meet Santa. Hellosanta.com sends pre-recorded video messages from Santa to the child. Parents can personalize the experience by providing details about their child prior to recording. Parents get to keep a copy of the recording as a keepsake or to share with friends and family.

These programs allow children to interact with Santa without being overstimulated with annoying lights or incomprehensible sounds. At last, children with autism spectrum or related disorders can meet the one and only, Santa Claus, with fewer tears and meltdowns. 

References

Branson-Potts, H. (2014, December 13). Outside the chaos of a mall, santa visits children with autism. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-adv-sensitive-santa-20141214-story.html

Gifts for Elementary/Grade School Kids on the Autism Spectrum. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nationalautismresources.com/gradeschool.html

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Tags: Holidays
Zach Gouldsmith

Zach Gouldsmith Zach Gouldsmith

I do appreciate constructive feedback on the articles I write. If anyone has comments about the content of my articles or would like to make suggestions for future topics, I would welcome it!

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