At Caring Santa Events, Kids With Autism Can Meet St. Nick On Their Own Terms

The relationship between young kids and Santa Claus is a magical one. Writing a wish list and mailing it to the North Pole. Being extra careful to "be good" so those wishes are granted. Listening for reindeer hooves on the roof on Christmas Eve. Of all the experiences and rituals that connect children with Father Christmas, one of the most precious for many kids and their parents happens face-to-face: getting to see and meet Santa in person!


Visiting Santa and getting a cute photo has become traditional, but for some families, the tradition can feel out of reach. Generally, meet-and-greets with Father Christmas involve a flood of stimulation: they happen at malls or large department stores, involve talking to strangers, and sitting on a stranger's lap. And for most families of kids with autism, the sensory overload of meeting Santa is simply too high. So they've cut the tradition out of their holiday plans. But Autism Speaks is changing that.
Through their Caring Santa program, Autism Speaks offers "sensory-friendly Santa events" available to families of children on the autism spectrum at malls across the country.

The Caring Santa meet-and-greets are carefully designed to accommodate the kids they serve. Events generally take place after-hours at the mall, with Santa actors who have received training and guidance through the program. In this calmer, quieter time, kids can connect with Santa in their preferred manner. They aren't rushed by a line of families behind them. They aren't pushed to jump onto a lap or recite their wish lists. They can be themselves.

As Erin Deely, who brought her son Brayden to a Caring Santa event, explained it: "It's him literally being himself, and Santa getting on his level and accommodating him, rather than the other way around."

Giving Brayden the chance to take his time getting comfortable with Father Christmas in a mellow environment made all the difference. "At the end, Brayden didn't want to leave. He kept saying, 'More Santa,'" Erin says. Now that's magical!

Photos via TODAY. For more inspiring stories, follow us on Facebook and sign up for our Only Good News Newsletter.

Skid Row Carnival Highlights Help for Homeless

Skid Row – the image that immediately comes to mind is not pretty… a desolate street with boarded up windows…downtrodden people lurking in the shadows...broken glass…darkness…despair…

The Skid Row Carnival of Love is an initiative that is working to change all that. Its goal is to build community by providing resources and love to an often forgotten, and overlooked sector of one our largest cities: Los Angeles' homeless population of Skid Row. For one day, it's all about unconditional love and coming together as a community.

Keep reading... Show less

The Creation Of Us (S2:E2) – A Perfectly Imperfect Relationship

From the very first day that Heather and Christen physically bumped one another at a local bar on Long Island, these two women knew that there was something special between them. In this episode of The Creation Of Us, each shares some of the stories that have taken them from those first charged moments of a new relationship to a life where they share a home, 3 dogs, and a commute to an office where they literally work back to back in the same room!

Keep reading... Show less

The Creation Of Us (S2:E1) – Meet Christen and Heather

Christen Samuels and Heather Fazzino both grew up in strong, opinionated, Italian families. Old school. Traditional. This made things a bit more strenuous for these women on their road to becoming a couple. In this first episode of the new season of The Creation Of Us, Christen and Heather share the stories of how they grew up, the people around them who were major influences, and the key moments each experienced that made them realize they were different.

Keep reading... Show less
Fans' Top 5 Hits

PRIDE! In Provincetown - FEC Family Week

OnlyGood TV embraces diversity and supports dignity, equal rights and self-affirmation! We are celebrating PRIDE Month by sharing inspiring stories that feature our LGBTQIA+ community.

Family Week is one of the preeminent events of the non-profit advocacy group, Family Equality Counsel. The group advocates for equality for the LGBTQ community and Family Week in Provincetown, MA is an opportunity for families to come together from all over the country to find support and community with other like-minded and alternative families.

Keep reading... Show less

A Dog’s Journey Home (E10) – Prepping the Pittsburgh Puppies

How do you keep 62 dogs in a van happy and comfortable on a 1,600 mile journey? In this episode of A Dog's Journey Home, Scott Whyatt, co-founder of Tracy'sDogs, shares his secrets for caring for all of these pups as they set out for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where their new, loving families anxiously await their arrival.

Keep reading... Show less

WWII Vet Runs Cross Country to Save His D-Day Ship

Ernie Andrus, now in his 90's, is running cross-country to raise money in order to put the LST 325, the ship he served on in the Navy during WWII, back on the beach in Normandy where it supported the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944.

This LST 325 is the only LST ship left (out of 1,051 made) that has been fully restored and still operational. Plans were initially made for a D-Day memorial service in 2014 for the ship, but it was canceled because of a shortage of finances. This inspired Ernie to start a project called, Coast2Coast Runs to raise money to honor his old ship.

Keep reading... Show less
Fans' Top 5 Hits

The Cycling Studio Flash Mob Proposal That Went Viral!

OnlyGood TV embraces diversity and supports dignity, equal rights and self-affirmation! We are celebrating Pride Month by sharing inspiring stories that feature our LGTBQIA+ community. Today we reflect on the epic Valentine's Day flash mob proposal that took the world by storm!

It was love at first playlist! Adam Keller, a JoyRide Cycling Studio instructor, took Valentine's Day 2016 to create a wedding proposal to end all proposals! Adam planned this top-secret, expertly choreographed, flash mob, cycling class proposal, asking his boyfriend, Jared Marinelli, also a JoyRide Instructor, the magic question... WILL YOU MARRY ME?

Keep reading... Show less

Celebrating Inspiring People on National Cancer Survivors Day

OnlyGood TV is joining in the Celebration of Life that is National Cancer Survivor Day by honoring those who have survived and supporting those recently diagnosed. The inspiring stories that we share below are reminders that there is life after a cancer diagnosis that can be fruitful and rewarding. Here are just two stories about cancer survivors:

Keep reading... Show less
Watch and Subscribe
It's a Positivity Movement
OnlyGood TV on YouTube

mailbox

Get your Only Good TV Newsletter