Sensory Friendly Santa welcomes special needs kids in Flowood


Special needs kids got a chance to make memories with Santa and Mrs. Claus

FLOWOOD, Miss. (WJTV)- A very special group of kids got a chance to meet with Santa and Mrs. Claus Saturday in Flowood.

12 News’ Shay O’Connor visited Sensory-Friendly Santa, who paid a visit from the North Pole a little early this year, to meet kids with special needs.

There weren’t any large crowds, bright lights or loud music at the Southern Life Chiropractic in Flowood. Just Santa and Mrs. Claus graciously meeting with kids of all ages, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to see Santa. Kelli Leo’s son Noah got the chance to get in on all the fun.

Kelli Leo of Madison said, “With him having sensory processing disorder everything can be really overwhelming for him. So coming here where it’s quiet. He’s excited. He’s not annoying other people, he can be himself here. It’s a blessing.”

Sensory Santa is for families with kids who have sensory challenges and special needs. You may not see them often in public. Dr. Amy Different started the event after her own child was diagnosed with autism.

Dr. Amy Different said, “ I have a child with autism. He’s 7 years old. It was really hard to go out to those public places with the really long lines, and with all the people. He had a hard time standing there, running up there and taking the pic with Santa and running out. It was a really tough experience. So I took the idea and ran with it.”

It is now the third year of the typical two weekend-long event, and Dr. Different said it does not take long to fill the ten minute slots with kids wanting to make memories with Santa.

Kelli Leo said it was an experience for the parents too. They got to watch their kids enjoy being kids, in a judgment-free zone.

Leo said “Just being able to have the freedom to let him come around in his own pace and enjoy himself.  It’s not loud or overwhelming. I think it’s important for special needs kids to have a special place like this to come.”

Make an appointment to see Santa with Southern Life Chiropractic by emailing or calling 601-932-0026.

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