I have been very encouraged with the recent news stories about store Santas working with kids with autism. The first story I heard was about an event that Autism Speaks manages called Caring Santa. They have a Santa that will provide the families an opportunity to have their children with autism has a picture with Santa without the fear of stares if their child has a fit to due over stimulation. When one boy didn’t want to sit on Santa’s lap, this kind hearted St Nick joined the boy on the floor and the boy’s parents were able to capture a memorable photo.
The other story that really touched my heart was the boy who told Santa that he was afraid he was on the naughty list due to his autism. Again, the sage behind the Santa costume told him that he was in no danger of being kicked off of the nice list. He told the boy the truth—his autism was not to be judged and that was just who he is. Rightfully so, this encouragement has been shared over 500,000 times on Facebook.
It did my soul good to read these articles. As a mother of a son with autism, I can truly appreciate the struggle of these parents trying to participate in “normal” activities. My son has had meltdowns through no fault of his, but the dirty looks and the mean comments we received (Can’t you control your child? What’s wrong with him?) have troubled all of us, to say the least. I am so glad that these Santas are aware of autism and are being great examples of what caring looks like.