Sensory- friendly visit with Santa Claus at the Millcreek Mall - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Sensory- friendly visit with Santa Claus at the Millcreek Mall

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It's that time of year where the big man in the red suit is asking children what they want for Christmas. But for some children, it can be stressful.

Waiting for a photo with Santa Claus often means long lines, loud music and talking. But Sunday morning, families were able to enjoy Santa Claus stress-free during the Barber National Institute's sensory-friendly visit with Santa.

The goal, to make these visits less stressful for children and adults with autism or other special needs. 

There was face painting, iPads, and crafts to distract the children while they waited.

Families said it makes the experience even better.

"There's no music, you don't have to wait in big crowds. When they were little, they had a really hard time waiting in big lines, so this is perfect, cause you're given a number, and they call your number, then you go up and see Santa," said Cara Steiner, a Mother of three.

"I was just speaking to a parent who said that this would be so stressful, if they had to come to the mall, wait in line, have the noise and confusion, they probably wouldn't be able to do that," said Dr. Maureen Barber-Carey, Exec. Vice President at the Barber National Institute.

The Barber's next holiday event is the Christmas Ball, a Very Merry Erie. It will be held Saturday, December 9th at 8:00 p.m.

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