AUBURN, Mass. – The Auburn Mall will feature “Caring Santa” for families with special needs children, providing a subdued environment to visit with Santa for pictures, on Sunday from 9 to 11 a.m.
To create a more comforting environment for the children’s magical visit with Santa, many steps are taken to reduce sensory triggers. This environment is likely to include:
- Turning off in-mall music, stopping escalators located near the Santa set, dimming the lights and shutting down fountains for the duration of the event.
- Eliminating queue lines through the use of a numbering system in which guests approach the set when their number is called.
- Special activities and stories geared toward the needs of the child during the wait period to help the child understand what activities will occur during the visit.
This will be the second year for the Caring Santa program at many Simon malls. Caring Santa has been developed by Simon Property Group Inc., the world’s leading retail real estate company, and is guided by AbilityPath.org, a national online resource hub and special needs community.
“Last year, we saw families who received a Santa photo with their child for the very first time,” said Sheryl Young, CEO of AbilityPath.org. “We are fortunate to have terrific alliances with Simon and their photo operators who have worked with us to lessen potential triggers, like having the event occur during private mall hours and other slight adjustments that help provide a calmer, sensory-friendly environment for all children to enjoy.”
“We are thrilled to be the venue for this incredible event,” said Sheila Hennessy, director of marketing at the Auburn Mall. “The Caring Santa program brings a lot of joy to children with special needs, and to see that happen at our mall is truly an honor.”
Participants are encouraged to RSVP for the Caring Santa event by going to www.AbilityPath.org.