You can almost always bet on noise and long lines anytime you see kids getting pictures with Santa. But for a child on the autism spectrum, all of the commotion can be overwhelming. That’s why a special “Sensitive Santa” came to the Central Aroostook High School on Saturday for a quieter meet and greet with Jolly Old Saint Nick. News Source 8’s Angela Christoforos has the story…
Program Director of the “After the Bell” program Jamie Guerrette said, “This event is specially designed for kids on the spectrum just to provide them the chance to meet and greet Santa without all of the crowds and the noise and the lights and whistles that a typical mall Santa would have.”
Special Education Teacher Sami Allen said, “It is very overwhelming at a mall because you’ve got so many people there right now there’s a few children here that have autism and so they get the individual attention and there’s not a lot of commotion going on.”
It gives kids a chance to sit with Santa and Mrs. Claus in a quiet controlled low-key environment.
Guerrette said, “No lines, no waiting, just able to go up to Santa without all the noise and Christmas music that often people enjoy, but to a child on the spectrum is just too much for them to take in and just ruins the experience.”
Which is why the Sensitive Santa experience was created: for a calmer atmosphere with minimal stimulation that ensures both the kids and parents enjoy this holiday tradition.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 out of every 110 children is on the autism spectrum.