Local Organization Provides Safe Space For Kids With Special Needs To Meet Santa

Kids were also able to enjoy holiday treats and created sensory friendly crafts

MOORHEAD, Minn.- For some kids, waiting in line is the most dreaded part of visiting Santa.

For others, it’s the noise, the amount of people, and the lights.

“Sometimes loud noises are bothersome, huge crowds, standing around in a line with a bunch of people all pressed together is just really uncomfortable and here there is just.. There’s none of that. We just come in and there’s different rooms that you can go to, to find your own space and then you get your Santa time, when they’re nobody else waiting. It makes the holidays really special,” says Wagner.

Julie Wagner’s daughter has autism. She says this event enables her and her daughter to fully enjoy the experience of visiting Santa.

“This is such a unique space. With the therapists acting as elves it gives..There’s like a comfort here. And so she’s able to really that Santa experience that a lot of other kids have when they go to the mall. There’s not loud noises, there’s no music playing that can kinda get really annoying . It’s just so sensory friendly and just the right experience,” she says.

The Anne Carlsen Center is a non-profit organization providing support and services to kids and families with developmental disabilities or delays.

“We want to take into account the needs of the kids who come to see us and that’s taking into account sensory needs and having different activities, because nobody likes to wait. So, we wanna have something that kids can do so they can continue to have fun and keep moving and keep going and feel comfortable,” says Barb Stanton, a Therapist at Anne Carlsen Center.

“This Santa experience is absolutely one of the most wonderful things that we’ve experienced,” she says.

Event organizers say around 50 kids came to the center to visit Santa last year.

Categories: Community, Local News, Minnesota News, Moorhead