Skip navigation

Calls to Action

An Autism Friendly Santa Claus is Coming to New Jersey

October 13, 2014

(October 13, 2014) - The most wonderful time of the year is quickly approaching us, the holiday season.  The beautiful holiday music, the spectacular Christmas lights, the joy of spreading the holiday cheer in shopping malls and parents taking their young children to meet santa are all some of the festive traditions for families to take part in.

But for families who have a child on the autism spectrum, it may not be as enjoyable. People with autism can become overwhelmed with busy lines, loud noises and bright lights. Edison, New Jersey resident Gerriann LaGuardia implemented a unique holiday experience for people on the autism spectrum. LaGuardia is a full-time social worker, she got intrigued with the idea of starting a sensitive santa for children with autism in 2009.

LaGuardia told, “One day at a work, I heard a mother talk about how she couldn’t take her 7-year-old child to see Santa because it simply would be too overwhelming. He was a lovely little boy, but he was austistic, and the shopping-mall experience was just too much for him,” Edison resident Gerriann LaGuardia said. “As a social worker, it broke my heart.”

LaGuardia created a sensitive santa for children with autism in 2009, a sensory-friendly holiday experience. A sensitive santa provides a supportive environment which eliminates bright lights and loud noises that can trigger sensory sensitivies for someone on the spectrum. Each child taking their picture with santa receives 15 minutes with the holiday icon in a private area that is modestly decorated.

This year’s sensitive santa is going to take place on December 14 from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus at 63 Lincoln Ave. in Jamesburg, New Jersey.

Read the entire story of this magnificent holiday event for children on the autism spectrum from