Walt Whitman Shops is sponsoring a Caring Santa™ event Sunday for children with special needs.
The mall will take several steps to reduce sensory triggers, creating a more comforting environment for the children’s visit. This could include:
- Turning off in-mall music and dimming the center’s lights
- Eliminating lines through the use of a numbering system
- Special activities and stories geared toward the needs of the child during the “wait” period to help the child understand what activities will occur during the visit.
Caring Santa has been developed by Simon Property Group, Inc. and is guided by AbilityPath.org.
This will be the second year for the Caring Santa program at many Simon malls. “Last year, we saw families who received a Santa photo with their child for the very first time,” said Sheryl Young, CEO of AbilityPath.org. “We are fortunate to have terrific alliances with Simon and their photo operators who have worked with us to lessen potential triggers, like having the event occur during private mall hours and other slight adjustments that help provide a calmer, sensory-friendly environment for all children to enjoy.”
The event will run from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
“We are thrilled to be the venue for this incredible event,” said Nancy Gilbert, director of marketing and business development for Walt Whitman Shops. “The Caring Santa program brings a lot of joy to children with special needs and to see that happen at our mall is truly an honor.”
Participants are encouraged to RSVP for the Caring Santa event at Walt Whitman Shops by going to www.AbilityPath.org.
Sponsors for the 2012 Simon Photo Experience include ABC Family, VISIT FLORIDA, Gymboree and ScentSicles.