Autism Society Hosts ASD-Friendly 'Sensory Santa' Event

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Sitting on Santa's lap is a tradition almost as old as Santa himself.
But for some kids, a mall Santa can be a bit overwhelming.
The Autism Society of Alaska hosted its fourth annual 'Sensory Santa,' an event aimed at taking the stress out of telling the man in red all about Christmas wishes.
The day allowed kids who may have sensory processing difficulties to sit and tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas, while in a calm environment.
Executive Director of the Autism Society of Alaska, Danielle Tessen, said the first year, the group only had around 15 families attend; but now, four years later, she estimated a turnout of about 100.

Danielle Tessen; Executive Director - Autism Society of Alaska>>"This event is really important because it is kind of a come as you are, we have an area in which kids can play, run around the lights are dim. We are just aware of all of those sensory overloads, so there is not that pressure of stand in the line, be quiet, and don't touch anything. We want you to come, roll around on the floor, touch everything and be as loud as you want. Just come and enjoy that Christmas tradition that might be a little difficult in a different setting."

If you would like to volunteer with the Autism Society of Alaska, you can find more information on their website at