“Quiet Santa” provides space for kids with sensory issues

Dec 6, 2022, 8:16 AM

The Quiet Santa event allows kids with sensory issues to meet Santa. (Photo: Canva)...

The Quiet Santa event allows kids with sensory issues to meet Santa. (Photo: Canva)

(Photo: Canva)

OREM, Utah–  The University Place Mall in Orem is running a special “Quiet Santa” for kids with special sensory needs like those with Autism. 

The mall has partnered for years with the Melissa Nellesen Center to help kids with sensory needs meet Santa.

Parent Sierra Draper said this is special for the children to have one-on-one time with Santa without all the distractions.

“Honestly, me and my husband just sobbed,” said Draper. “We had Santa come in and they had bubbles and balls for her to play with.”

Draper said it was “the best opportunity” because its hard for her severely autistic daughter to be in public spaces. 

“It’s really brought the magic into Christmas,” said Draper.

The event, which runs through Dec. 10, starts before the mall opens to keep distractions low for the children as they meet Santa.

Event Planner, Jared Mower said the event has had the same Santa since it started and he said it’s the highlight of the year.

“The only word I can think of is magical,” said Mower. “The kid doesn’t event want to see Santa and over the course of the twenty minutes they have, they don’t want to leave Santa. 

The slots are filled this year but registration occurs every year in November through the Melissa Nellesen Center.

Related: Autism awareness organization to hold a community conversation for Ogden residents


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