Family Christmas

Santa goes the extra mile for boy with autism

“They just bonded and played”

After learning her son, Brayden, had autism, Erin Deely and her husband abandoned the notion of ever get a traditional Christmas picture with their son and Santa.
“I thought we would never get those holiday pictures with him because it’s something he can’t handle – the noise, and the pressure,” she told PEOPLE.
“He gets anxious if you ask him to smile, it’s all too much for him.”
But a few weeks ago, for the second year in a row, they got their perfect photo.
Thanks to the Caring Santa program in the US, their 6-year-old son was able to spend some time with Father Christmas.
The program was set up to cater to families with children who have special needs and require experience in order to have photos taken with Santa Clause.
“They let you take all the time you need to let him warm up to Santa, so Brayden started out far away,” Ms Deely told TODAY.com.
“He knew who Santa was, but he was shy.”
Ms Deely said after a few minutes, Santa got up and put a musical snow globe on the ground before retreating back to his chair.
And slowly, Brayden inched towards the toy and began playing with it.
Santa soon joined them, both lying on their bellies on the ground.
“They didn't event talk to each other, really, they just bonded and played, and Brayden started to be really excited and started looking at him and smiling,” Ms Deely said.
What a gorgeous Christmas story.

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