‘Tis the season of flashing lights, jingle bells, and long lines of little ones waiting to sit on Santa’s lap. For some children, this holiday scene is a dream come true—but for those who have autism, the sensory overload can be too much to bear. That’s why Jordan Search Consultants was so delighted to partner with the Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders this year in offering “sensory friendly” visits with Santa for families affected by autism.
The first annual Santa in St. Louis event was held at Mercy Kids Autism Center and gave individuals with autism and their families the opportunity to visit with Santa without having to endure loud, long lines. Extra care was taken to support the sensory, physical, and other developmental needs of the children so they could enjoy this holiday tradition. As a sponsor, the JSC team had the honor of shopping for personalized gifts for each child and their siblings, and providing food and beverages for the event. The children also received a CD of photos from their visit, courtesy of our partner, marketing and communications firm Arco + Associates, so they can look back on the special memory for years to come.
While it filled us with joy to give back to such deserving families, the most heartwarming part of the day was experiencing the bliss that each family felt as they entered the room. Many of the parents expected to leave with only candid photos, assuming a traditional picture on Santa’s knee might make their child uncomfortable. Instead, almost every family was pleasantly surprised to enter the room and see their child run straight to Santa with glee. The experience was overwhelmingly positive for everyone involved. We are so proud to be a part of the St. Louis healthcare community and look forward to continuing to embrace the families that make our community so wonderfully diverse.