Sensory Friendly Santa Day For Special Needs Children

Josh Navarro

Newswest 9

ODESSA- Santa's sleigh has landed in your neighborhood shopping mall and each year, hundreds of kids plop on Santa's lap to tell him what they want for Christmas. But this holiday tradition isn't as easy for children with special needs. The sounds of Christmas at the mall is in the air but it could be terrifying for children with special needs.

"A lot of kids for example that have autism and some other special needs have sensory issues where lighting or loud noise that sort of thing can really bother them and can even hurt them," Program Coordinator for SHARE, Melissa Roach, said.

Sunday was Sensory Friendly Santa day at Mission Fitness in Odessa, an event where these special needs kids could have a chance to meet Santa in a more quieter environment.

"It's our second year to do this and what we do is we provide an atmosphere for special needs children and their siblings to come out that makes it a little bit easier on them rather than going to a very crowded environment," Roach said.

The children were given a number so they wouldn't wait in line and were given pictures for them to color and some crafts to do as well.

"It makes it a little easier on the parents and the kids," Roach said.

Once their number was called they got to meet jolly Ole Saint Nick and given a present specially made for them to take home.