Special needs kids get to meet Santa at Bay Park Square Mall

Autism Society of Alaska hosts alternative to the overwhelming experience of sitting on Santa's lap

"Most every family has told me they don't go to the mall and to have the opportunity to see Santa and be in a mall with their children". "People who have kids who don't have disabilities, they don't understand what something so simple, as a picture with Santa, means to us". "But we were waiting less than five minutes probably", said Grace.

That's where the event "Santa Cares" comes in.

"I do think that it does create an awareness for families that have special needs and just the general public that may not know what it's all about", said Kat Stark, Marketing Director for the Rushmore Mall.

"It's epic! It's huge", said parent Pam Dore. The report says it's unknown who took the full Santa Claus suit and an extra hat from a back room at the mall.

On Sunday, the mall opened two hours early to provide a quiet atmosphere for children to meet with Santa.

"His attitude and his reaction right now the mood he's in is because of this", said attending parent Jan Smith.

While it appears the Caring Santa events in Houston wrapped for the season, other locations across Texas and the country still have availability.

Smith says she appreciates any events that specify time for her son Caleb and children like him. "It's just really feels great to be able to help families do something that a lot of us take for granted". "Sometimes we have to miss out on things that we just can't do without these opportunities".

Woodard says this is the first year the mall has had the event on their property and they plan to do it again next year.

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