Over the past two weekends, more than 50 local children with autism and sensory processing challenges got a special visit with a Sensitive Santa at Bass Pro Shops in Foxborough, Mass. Each child visited, had a photo with Santa, and participated in sensory-friendly activities.
Families of children with sensory processing disorders typically never have the opportunity to experience one of childhood’s favorite traditions so the event is extra special. This is the fifth year Bass Pro Shops has hosted the event at its popular Santa’s Wonderland experience.
“There are many environmental factors that can negatively impact the way a child with autism experiences his or her visit with Santa,” says Ali Schroeder, M.S., BCBA, LABA, Assistant Clinical Director at the May Center School for Autism and Developmental Disabilities in Randolph.
“Events like this one remove those barriers – such as lowering the lights and reducing the sounds, eliminating the crowds and wait times, preparing a child in advance, and creating a nurturing environment with a Santa who is sensitized to the needs of these children. This creates ‘firsts’ for so many children and families.”
May Institute is dedicated to providing life-changing care to children, adolescents, and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities, brain injury and neurobehavioral disorders, and other special needs. Its more than 140 service locations include five special education schools, home and school-based consultation services, and adult residential and day programs.