Special Needs Children Meet Santa at Unique Event

Zach Belisle and his brother Luke visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus

Photos with Santa are a Christmas tradition for so many families, but for children on the autism spectrum, the experience can be too much to bear - unless, you connect with a Caring Santa program.

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

Police say someone on the naughty list stole a Santa suit and hat valued together at $520 from a Pennsylvania mall. Especially for those families who have children with special needs.

"It's awesome. There are so many opportunities out there that we are just not able to do, so knowing we can come here each year, it's just definitely a blessing", said parent Kristy Miller. So we're excited to start here and make it bigger and better next year. The report says it's unknown who took the full Santa Claus suit and an extra hat from a back room at the mall. Staff turned off the music. Organizers say the goal is to cut out the distractions for the children, and create an atmosphere that is comfortable for each child who may not otherwise have access to him in the mall setting.

"I'm so grateful Santa Cares was brought to the community".

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

"It's epic! It's huge", said parent Pam Dore.

"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". That tradition of taking a picture with Santa is sometimes easier said than done.

Santa said, "If you can't give anything else, give a hug!"

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