Sensitive Santa comes to Rushmore Mall

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Kids getting their picture taken with Santa is a loved annual tradition. And what seems like a simple tradition for some kids, is a little more difficult for others. In an attempt to help kids with disabilities enjoy seeing Santa, the Rushmore Mall brought in Sensitive Santa.

Families with children with all spectrum of special needs, could come to get their picture taken on Sunday morning, with a more controlled and welcoming environment.

Sometimes the lights, all of the people, and the noise can be distracting and upsetting for these kids. To accommodate them, the mall put on low lights, turned off all music and other sounds to keep the set quiet. It helps the kids and helps raise awareness.

"I do think that it does create an awareness for families that have special needs and just the general public that may not know what it's all about," said Kat Stark, Marketing Director for the Rushmore Mall. "Just a lot less stressful than the hustle and bustle that can happen during the holiday season with the crowd and the noise."

Sensitive Santa is held in partnership with Autism Speaks,which is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.