'Sensitive Santa' caters to kids with Autism

PHOENIX - Christmas time can be chaotic and down right loud. 

For most kids, the glitter and sounds of the holiday are thrilling, but for other children it can be disturbing and even dangerous.

Eleven-year-old Lillian Fattaleh is considered on the Autism spectrum and has ADHD. Going to the mall to see Santa is out of the question.

"It is impossible with kids yelling at times and loud noises," said her grandmother Jacque Lawson. "It is also difficult for her to wait in line."

At Touchstone Behavioral Health , a program offers a quieter more comforting setting for kids like Lillian. 

"Sensitive Santa" visits each of the locations and gives the kids a chance to take part in a holiday tradition that they had to miss prior.

"For many kids, it is their first time seeing Santa," said Sensitive Santa.

Santa said he does do some therapy work at the centers when he is not busy with loading his sleigh for the holidays. "You never know what may upset a kid who has some of these issues."

This is the fourth year for the program.

Lillian is seeing Santa for her fourth time. A joy not only for her but for her family who want nothing more but for her to experience what every other kid experiences at this magical time of year.

Print this article Back to Top