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Southern Indiana mall hosts sensory-friendly 'Santa Cares' event

05 December 2017, 02:32 | Lucy Hill

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Sunday, West County Center hosted a sensory-friendly visit with Santa.

Santa's that working with the Caring Santa program are trained to interact with children who have special needs and almost 400 sensory-friendly Santa experiences will happen nationwide this year. They dimmed the lights and turned the music off to make sure every child was comfortable for their appointment. Cherryvale Mall set out to make a sensory friendly and calming environment for families with special needs children - all in an effort to make for a smooth trip to see the big man.

More than 30 families took advantage of the opportunity. Especially for those families who have children with special needs.

For Stephanie Ewert, this is only the second time her 12-year-old son Jaden has been able to see Santa. "So, just to be able to get this one-on-one time without the crowd is a blessing for us". "This is the first time he would talk to Santa and actually sit on his lap" says Whitney Wardlow.

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"This event allows anybody with a developmental disability who still wants to participate in the Christmas spirit and get to see Santa that opportunity that they wouldn't otherwise have", said John Nygaard, Jack's father.

"It's very important", said Santa "I mean, that's what Christmas is all about".

"Some parents came to me and they said they really wanted to take their child to see Santa but the child couldn't handle all the extraneous things, the noise, the crowds, the waiting in line", said Dr. Maureen Barber-Carey, the Executive Director at the Barber National Institute.

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