Columbia Mall hosts sensory friendly Santa experience

4 months 2 weeks 16 hours ago Sunday, November 24 2019 Nov 24, 2019 Sunday, November 24, 2019 12:44:00 PM CST November 24, 2019 in News
By: Daniel Perreault, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Santa Claus came to town a little early this year for some children in mid-Missouri on Sunday.

Photos with Santa are a tradition around Christmas time but for some children with special needs, the experience can be overwhelming.

Before the Columbia Mall opened to the public on Sunday morning, families came to meet the big man in a sensory friendly setting. There are no bright lights, music or crowds.

For some kids like 2-year-old Iliana Schneider, it was the first time they met the big man.

"You know for autistic kids that can be something of an issue dealing with crowds and dealing with the hustle and bustle, the lines and stuff," her father, Todd Schneider, said. "Something like this where it is very relaxed and there is not a ton of people here yet. We were able to get right in and see him as soon as we got here. It really makes a difference."

The Schneider family used to go see Santa at Bass Pro Shop but stopped after it became difficult for their 8-year-old son Joshua to deal with the crowds.

"They put on a good thing and it was great but just the amount of people packed together and the amount of time we would have to wait to get through the line, it really became a struggle," his father said.

Schneider said it's hard to overstate how much being able to meet Santa meant to his family.

"It really does give them a chance to feel normal and do activities they otherwise probably wouldn't be able to handle," he said. "The memories for them to have and those kinds of things last a life time."

This is the first year the event was held but organizers said they are hoping to make it an annual event.

More News

Grid
List
(CNN) -- The hotel industry has taken a massive hit as people continue to abide by stay-at-home orders during the... More >>
1 hour ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 10:50:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Flooding remains a concern in several states along the Missouri River, even though the weather has... More >>
2 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 9:27:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There are heroes rescuing others from these tough times. A South Kansas City grocery store... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 9:02:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Police believe no one is injured after they investigated a shots fired call on Wednesday night. Police... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 8:11:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
KOMU 8's Emily Spain talks with Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri Executive Director Lindsay Lopez about the growing... More >>
4 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 7:49:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - As COVID-19 continues to change daily life, many people are turning to their faith for solace. But... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 5:39:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri’s health chief said Wednesday that he is directing medical professionals to provide racial data about... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 5:27:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
BOONVILLE - The Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel in Boonville has temporarily shut down business operations and implemented furloughs... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 5:04:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
BOONVILLE - The road to recovery from addiction can be hard. Now COVID-19 is bringing more challenges to those fighting... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 4:20:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Parson is continuing to address the daily changes happening in Missouri due to COVID-19. On... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 3:45:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - City and county officials gave an update on COVID-19 on Wednesday during a virtual press conference. Columbia... More >>
8 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 3:38:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — As state and commercial testing is more available for the Missourians, the number of confirmed cases is rising.... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 2:20:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department has made changes to its day-to-day operations since the "Stay Home Order" went into... More >>
10 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 1:52:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Roots N Blues Festival mourned the loss of famed sing-songwriter John Prine, who died Tuesday due to... More >>
10 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 1:11:00 PM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - A 16-year-old was arrested on charges of 2nd degree murder and tampering with physical evidence in connection... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 11:51:00 AM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri lawmakers have returned to the state Capitol to work on an emergency coronavirus funding bill.... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 11:17:00 AM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Bernie Sanders, who saw his once strong lead in the Democratic primary evaporate as the party’s establishment... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 10:43:00 AM CDT April 08, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 spreads, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about the impacts on the community. KOMU 8 News... More >>
13 hours ago Wednesday, April 08 2020 Apr 8, 2020 Wednesday, April 08, 2020 10:31:00 AM CDT April 08, 2020 in Top Stories
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 52°
12am 55°
1am 53°
2am 52°
3am 50°