Sensory-friendly Santa coming to Coronado Center | KOB 4
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Sensory-friendly Santa coming to Coronado Center

Emily Jaceks
December 07, 2018 06:36 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— Excited children, flashing lights, and large crowds are all a part of visiting Santa. The experience can be chaotic, and for a child with autism, it’s anything but joyful.

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“So when my son was diagnosed with autism, before we knew he had autism, we brought him to see Santa and it was a disaster. The lines were so long and so he was already really agitated and so he cried and screamed,” Sarah Baca said.

And it's not only stressful for the child; it’s difficult for the parents as well.

“Not knowing he had autism made it a little harder for me because you got the stares and this kid that's just having a meltdown,” Baca said.

Sensory overload is a common problem for children with autism, so that's why Santa’s Village in Coronado Center will be free of loud noises and distractions Sunday.

Before the mall opens, the atmosphere will change. Visitors can expect dim lighting, quiet, and a crew from the North Pole ready to provide a rare experience some of these children may have never had.

“It pulls at my heartstrings, obviously, because not having that opportunity and being able to come and bring him to something like this, to where he can be himself. If he wants to, he doesn't want to stand in line, he can be doing an activity, and when it’s time, he can see Santa, and go and sit on Santa's lap, and we can have that picture to treasure forever,” said Baca.

If you or someone you know would like to attend this event, it's Sunday at Coronado Center in Albuquerque from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

There's no cost to attend, but pictures will be available for purchase, although they are not required for a visit.

Credits

Emily Jaceks

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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