VIENNA, W.Va.-The Grand Central Mall is inviting children with autism and other sensory processing disorders to celebrate with Sensitive Santa this Sunday.
The mall event allows these special children to enjoy a visit with Santa Claus this holiday season.
The special Santa event will be 8 to 10 a.m.. Santa is located on the north end of Grand Central Mall, midway between Sears and Center Court. Families are encouraged to use Entrance C, on the front side of the mall, to gain access to the event.
"I think it's wonderful the mall is offering this opportunity for the children to enjoy the holiday, to be able to visit with Santa, which they may not have been able to do otherwise under other circumstances. This allows them to enjoy seeing all the decorations in the mall and visit Santa like others enjoy," said Jane Stephens, executive director with the Wood County Society that serves local children and adults with disabilities.
It can be difficult for families of children with such disorders to enjoy some of the holiday celebrations and traditions most people take for granted, including simple things like sitting on Santa's lap in a busy shopping mall.
According to the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation, sensory processing refers to the ability to take in information through the senses (touch, movement, smell, taste, vision and hearing), organize and interpret that information and make a meaningful response. For most people, this process is automatic. Children who have Sensory Processing Disorder do not process information the same way, affecting how they respond to that information with emotional, motor and other reactions. For the event, the Santa area will become "sensory friendly." Lights and music will be turned down.