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Arsenal Mall to host Santa event for special needs children

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  November 30, 2012 12:18 PM

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The Arsenal Mall in Watertown will hold a Caring Santa event this Sunday, Dec. 2, which provides a subdued environment for children with special needs to experience a visit and photo with Santa.

The event, which runs from from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m., seeks to reduce sensory triggers to create a more comforting environment for special needs children, according to mall representatives.

The mall will turn off in-mall music, stop escalators located near the Santa set, dim the lights, and shut down fountains during the duration of the event.

The shopping center will also eliminating queue lines through a numbering system where guests approach the set when their number is called.

There will also be special activities and stories geared toward the needs of the child during the waiting period to help the child understand what activities will occur during the visit.

This will be the second year for the Caring Santa program at many Simon malls.

“Last year, we saw families who received a Santa photo with their child for the very first time,” said Sheryl Young, CEO of AbilityPath.org, the organization pairing with the mall to produce the event. “We are fortunate to have terrific alliances with Simon and their photo operators who have worked with us to lessen potential triggers, like having the event occur during private mall hours and other slight adjustments that help provide a calmer sensory-friendly environment for all children to enjoy.”

Rachel Molina, marketing director of Arsenal Mall, said the mall was "thrilled" to be hosting the event.

“The Caring Santa program brings a lot of joy to children with special needs and to see that happen at our mall is truly an honor," she said.

Participants are encouraged to RSVP for the Caring Santa event at Arsenal Mall by going to www.abilitypath.org.


Presenting Sponsors for the 2012 Simon Photo Experience include ABC Family, VISIT FLORIDA, Gymboree, and ScentSicles.

Caring Santa has been developed by Simon Property Group, Inc. (NYSE:SPG), the world’s leading retail real estate company and is guided by AbilityPath.org, a national online resource hub and special needs community.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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