santa autistic boy

Mall Santa Gives Frightened Boy With Autism Special Attention & It’s Melting Hearts.

If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that Santa Claus loves all children! However, not all children are equipped to visit Saint Nick at the local mall in order to obtain that picture-perfect Christmas memory.

Since kids with autism often have a difficult time handling the noise and excitement of a traditional Santa visit, an organization called Autism Speaks has partnered with Cherry Hill Programs to provide sensory-friendly Santa Experiences for families across the country. At one such event, a little boy named Brayden finally got to meet Mr. Claus, and the way that Santa reached out to the boy was so heartwarming it made national headlines.


Brayden’s mom, Erin Deely, told People that she feared a visit to Santa might never work out for her family. “I thought we would never get those holiday pictures with him because it’s something he can’t handle – the noise, and the pressure. He gets anxious if you ask him to smile, it’s all too much for him,” Erin said.

But when Erin brought Brayden to a special Caring Santa event at SouthPark mall in Charlotte, North Carolina, her fears instantly melted away.


Understanding that Brayden was feeling very shy and did not want to sit on his lap, this caring Santa crawled down onto the floor with him and started playing with some toys.


Brayden was delighted by the personal attention from the big man himself! Erin was elated by the experience, stating, “Oh my gosh, to be able to do something that other families do…normally a lot of things are harder for us as a family and we got to do the same tradition as everyone else, we just do it on the floor.”

Autism Speaks

The pictures tell the full story of a moment that definitely brings tears to our eyes! Watching Santa being so thoughtful and inclusive to all children is truly what the holiday spirit is all about.


Watch a snippet from their delightful meeting below and please share this story to spread the word about this incredible program!