A group of autistic children got to meet Santa Claus without having to deal with Sunday shopping crowds.Mississauga’s Square One was one of ten malls across Canada that teamed up with autism charities and opened doors to children who wanted to meet Santa without the confusion and chaos of a traditional lineup.
Personnel at Square One welcomed nine families before the mall opened to the public at 11 a.m.
Jennifer Banton, mother of two children with ASD (autism spectrum disorder), said visiting Santa would otherwise be “very stressful” for seven-year-old Johnathan and three-year-old Matthew.
“I just hope that every family with autism can experience this wonderful experience,” she said.
Without crowds, there was no rush to reach Santa’s lap as each child had 15 minutes to get acquainted with St. Nick.
Spokesman Lyn Whitham said Oxford Properties opened Square One and nine of the company’s other malls across Canada to enable children with autism to visit Santa “in an environment that’s conducive to them.”
Last year, more than 100 children with autism visited Santa at the program’s inaugural event in Calgary.