Santa Claus Spreads Love To Those With Special Needs

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The mall held a sensory-friendly holiday event on Sunday for families with special needs.

Cavanagh adds most people don't realize how important it is for families to get these type of 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.

"Having a special needs child, we don't really get out with him a whole lot, especially this time of year".

"We know that taking a photo with Santa is a valued holiday tradition and we wanted to make that inclusive for all families", says Springfield Town Center Marketing Director Kimberly Baldy. "We've actually started very early this morning, so that we could see those children".

The Avila's are among 30 families who reserved a special visit to Santa's Wonderland at Grapevine Mills for an event called Caring Santa. There was not a lot of traffic in the mall. "He's the one who is diagnosed with autism.", Kelley Ogletree said.

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This was the second year that the Belisles have attended Silent Santa.

"He doesn't like crowds and he needs a little bit calmer", said Flannery.

"Also, we don't have to worry about if he has a meltdown, people are going to freak out because they're used to this, this is the life they live every day". It's no big deal to them.

Santa's team says making children of all ages smile is part of the magic of the season.

"It's just a wonderful experience to be able to give them a chance to be just an everyday kid and to be able to enjoy the same things that all kids do", Kim said.

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