Children with special needs enjoy taking pictures with Santa

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Giving all kids the chance to take pictures with Santa.

“Say cheese!”

Learn Behavioral teamed with Northwoods Mall in Peoria to give children with special needs a chance to have a private photoshoot with the man in the big red coat.

“It gives us the opportunity to experience some of the other things other people can do anywhere in a controlled environment,” said parent Ashley Hamilton.

Each family gets 15 to 20 minutes with Santa without the lines, chaos and noise.

“Ethan does better now with people but the less people the better in a sense of sensory overload,” said Hamilton.

The experience was also at no charge to them.

“I was surprised when we were signing up for the event that it was free they offer the free picture and I just think that’s wonderful for anybody who might not have the money to have an opportunity like this,” said Hamilton.

Nicole Ziegler is a certified behavioral analyst and she said having limited people allows each kid to be themselves without added stressors.

“They can feel a lot more under pressure they got uncomfortable they get upset its hard to wait, it’s hard for any kid to wait,” said Ziegler.

She said it’s an experience that families will cherish forever.

“I love the smiles on the kids faces and the excitement and their feeling of accomplishment like when they do something really hard and they get through it,” said Ziegler.

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