Mall Santa comforts boy with autism after he finds out about his condition, telling him there’s nothing wrong with being himself.
The boy went to the RiverTown Crossings Mall with his mother, his aunt and his four cousins to sit in Santa’s lap and tell him what they wish for this Christmas.
After sitting in Santa’s lap, Landon Johnson remembered he had something important to tell to the old man so he went back. Flapping his hands in excitement, he told Santa about his Autism.
Santa’s reaction was priceless for both Landon and his mother. He sat the boy next to him, took his hands in his hands and asked if having Autism was bothering the little boy. Landon answered that it sometimes did. In return, Santa told Landon that he shouldn’t be bothered about being who he is.
The reason why Landon wanted so much to tell Santa about his condition was that usually people at school – both peers and teachers – don’t really understand that he has Autism so they see him as a trouble-maker. He wanted to reassure Santa that he wasn’t being naughty on purpose.
Luckily, the mall Santa was really kind, chatting with the boy for about 5 minutes and comforting him.
Naomi Johnson shared this great experience in a Facebook post on the RiverTown Crossings’ page. She was absolutely moved by both her son and Santa. The boy was very brave for opening up to the man in red and his mother claims that he is usually being a great advocate for himself, being very self-conscious about his condition.
On the other side, Naomi is really grateful for Santa being so great and telling her son it’s ok to be himself without transforming him into a science experiment, as most people do when they find out he’s autistic. She now claims that this Santa is the most amazing person they met in their Autism journey.
More and more malls across the U.S. offer “Sensitive Santa” or “Caring Santa” programs for children with special needs and especially for those with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).
The Caring Santa program offers special training to Mall Santas from 120 cities. Through the training, they learn how to communicate better for children with autism, for whom being in a crowded environment and sitting in a stranger’s lap might be a horrifying experience.
It is not yet clear if the Santa from RiverTown Crossings was part of one of these programs.
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