"Quiet Santa" a success for families dealing with autism

Program provides sensory-free experience with Santa

Published On: Dec 15 2013 04:48:01 AM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

A simple idea from a pair of siblings is once again providing a priceless opportunity this holiday season for dozens of local families.

The "quiet Santa" program provides a sensory-free experience for children who have autism and other special needs.

In just its second year, the occasion has become a very popular two-day event.

Julie Sheldon and her brother Jim had the idea after witnessing how a busy, noisy mall would be hard for those kids to meet with Santa.

"It's been very overwhelming, the response," said Julie Sheldon. "We get a lot of families very grateful for the opportunity again, many of them say that they wouldn't even try to take their child to the mall, so for many of them it's their first opportunity ever to get to meet with Santa."

Registration for this year's program is full, but Julie hopes to continue the event for years to come.

For more information, go here.