This Sensitive Santa is going viral across the world. But he’s not alone!



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When Brayden was diagnosed with autism at age three, Erin Deely was prepared to miss out on certain things, like special photo’s. “I thought we would never get those holiday pictures with him because it’s something he can’t handle – the noise, and the pressure. He gets anxious if you ask him to smile, it’s all too much for him,” Erin told PEOPLE.

Erin decided this year could be different and took Brayden to a special Caring Santa event at North Carolina to see how he would feel about meeting Santa. Caring Santa is a program that provides special needs families with their own unique opportunity to visit and take photos with Santa. Here in Australia we have “Sensitive Santa” which offers the same service.

Brayden was shy as he approached Santa’s chair. He need not worry though, Santa got right on the ground with him and started playing with his toys.


Image via Autism speaks

“Oh my gosh, to be able to do something that other families do…normally a lot of things are harder for us as a family and we got to do the same tradition as everyone else, we just do it on the floor,” Erin said.

“The whole staff (Santa included) was overly accommodating for all of our kids, really trying to get the best picture and create the best experience possible, regardless of how much time or patience was needed to do so,” said Maeghan Pawley, Autism Speaks Community Outreach Manager.


We have some info for “Sensitive Santa” locations around Australia. Bookings are a must!

Victoria – Amaze.org.au
Chirnside Park
17 November to 19 December Tuesday 5pm – 6pm
Thursday and Saturday: 8am – 9am
Centre Management: 03 9727 9001

Stockland The Pines
6 December  and 13 December 9am – 10:30am
Centre Management: 03 9842 9000

11 November  – 24 December

Customer Service: 03 9319 3344

Mill Park Library
28 and 29 November5 and 6 December  10am – 5pm

Library: 03 9437 8186

SPAN Community House
10 December 3pm – 7pm
11 December 3pm – 7pm
12 December 10am – 3.30pm
13 December 10am – 3.30pm


Sydney: Aspect
Sensitive Santa runs from Tuesday 17 November 2015 until Tuesday 22 December 2015 at Charlestown Square and Rouse Hill Town Centre.

Bookings are essential.
To book or learn more, contact:
•Charlestown Square: (02) 4944 4333
•Rouse Hill Town Centre: (02) 9421 2300
•Aspect: 1800 ASPECT (1800 277 328)

Hobart TAS – Variety Children’s charity

Eastlands Shopping Centre host Sensitive Santa on Sunday 13th between 3-5pm and Monday 14th Dec (6-8pm)

(Near Kmart on lower level)

Bookings essential 03 62445222


Pacific Fair
Session 1: Tuesday 1 December – 6-7pm
Session 2: Wednesday 9 December – 6– 7pm
Where: Santa’s Pavilion, Centre Court outside Myer

Bookings essential.

South Australia

dates can be found on the Sensory Santa FB page.

Search Sensory Santa on Facebook for other states.


  • What a beautiful thing to do.


  • Great initiative !! We went with our youngest o Rouse Hill last year and were really pleased by their service & passion !


  • This is such a fantastic idea. It means that a lot of children won’t miss out on special time with Santa at Christmas. Christmas is for all children. Come on WA. Get on board with this.


  • This is a wonderful inititive. So often disabled youngsters miss out on fantastic events and activities especially at Christmas time when others are able to attend all the exciting fun things.
    I have written down the details to pass on to others.


  • awww, what a lovely santa – can you believe Chrissy is over


  • What a truely wonderful idea. this is the true spirit of christmas.


  • How wonderful is this, but very long overdue, why has it taken so long to happen, why have these not been in place previously and why are we only just hearing about them? Let’s hope that there will be many more.


  • yeah this is a great idea. it is good to see that they are getting into the christmas spirit and making it fun for the kids


  • I’m so glad that there are opportunities like this for kids with special needs


  • What an amazing service and fabulous Santas. Well done.


  • We also have a great Santa like this in Newcastle NSW.


  • What a great service!!! So necessary for so many. Lovely to see – so very special and memorable for these families.


  • What a fantastic service. It’s great that all children get to experience joyful events.


  • Thats really awesome :)


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