MERRY: Set supervisor Kelly Staff, Santa and Stockland centre manager Diana Mitchell are getting prepared for special Santa sessions for children with sensory needs.
MERRY: Set supervisor Kelly Staff, Santa and Stockland centre manager Diana Mitchell are getting prepared for special Santa sessions for children with sensory needs.

Santa sessions for children with sensory needs

THIS year Santa will be making a special visit to Stockland early in the morning when the lights are low, there’s no music playing and there are no queues.

It’s the second year Stockland Gladstone has hosted “Sensitive Santa” to ensure children with disabilities or sensory concerns have their chance to get a photo with Santa.

Centre manager Diana Mitchell said last year’s sessions were such a success they decided to do three sessions this year, with two more coming up.

“It is welcome to everybody,” Ms Mitchell said.

“We find that those that book the sessions usually have children with sensory concerns. But that could be the perfect time for people who can’t get to the centre at other times as well.”

She said these sessions were extremely important to the centre.

“Our community has a special school for children with special needs,” she said.

“I think there are a lot of families out there who will be able to take advantage of having a session with Santa where there isn’t any challenges.”

She said Santa also loved seeing these children.

“It’s our Santa’s favourite day of photography because he gets to spend extra time with the children with special needs,” Ms Mitchell said.

“He gets a lot out of that.”

The sessions run for 15 minutes and bookings are essential. Flash is used, however families are spoken to beforehand to prepare the children.

Seeing Santa is free, with photos available for purchase.

Sensory Santa

When: Sunday December 15 and 22, 7.30am – 9.30am

Where: Stockland Gladstone

Book: stockland.com.au/gladstone



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