Special visit with Santa available in SoCal for children with autism

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Children with autism will be given a special chance to meet with Santa Claus this Christmas in a program that tailors the visit to their specific needs.

The Santa Cares program offers dimmer lights and softer music and provides other accommodations to children who may be overly sensitive to sensory stimulation.

It also starts early before holiday shoppers arrive at the mall.

Organizers say the Santas have been specially trained to interact with children who have autism and are taught to take cues from parents or caregivers who know the child's preferences.

Santa Cares is organized by Cherry Hill Programs - a New Jersey company that provides Santas to malls and other locations across the country - in partnership with Autism Speaks.

The program is providing 747 sensory-friendly events across the country.

Among events in the Los Angeles area, the Westfield Culver City mall is hosting a Sensory-Friendly Santa on Sunday, Dec. 15.

For more information and to search for events in your area, check here.

Opportunities for other children who do not have special sensory needs to visit Santa in the Southern California area are available through the same company.
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