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Santa makes time for kids with special needs

The bright lights and loud noises of a crowded mall at Christmas can be overwhelming for children with special needs. That's why the Santa Cares program sets aside dedicated times for children to meet the man in red in a calmer setting.

For the fourth year in a row, Walden Galleria will host Santa Cares from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Nov. 20 and Dec. 4.

Children with autism or other sensory concerns can visit Santa without the difficulties or distractions brought on during busy mall hours in a more controlled, sensory-free and welcoming environment.

Santa Cares is put together by Noerr Programs, which runs the mall's Santa experience, along with advocacy group Autism Speaks, special needs community Ability Path and toymaker Hasbro.

Families should RSVP online at to reserve their time with Santa.



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