Santa Claus comes to autism-friendly grottos across UK

With the bright lights, colourful gifts and jolly presence of Father Christmas, Santa’s grottos are a seasonal favourite for families across the UK. But not all children are able to enjoy them.

For thousands of children in Britain diagnosed with autism, the trip to sit on Santa’s knee can be a frightening mix of huge crowds and loud noises, a charity has said.

This year, dozens of autism-friendly Santa’s grottos have opened around the UK, launched by parents who want their children to be able to join in a magical part of Christmas without feeling distressed.

Instead of the huge queues, which can induce panic in some children with autism, the grottos have scheduled appointments or host only small groups. There are no flashing lights, Santa has been trained and the loud music has been replaced with a sensory room where the children can relax.

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19th December 2016