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Tucson mom creating Santa experience for kids with special needs

Posted at 5:57 AM, Nov 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-27 22:27:42-05

For kids with autism or other special needs, visiting Santa at the mall with hundreds of people around is overwhelming and uncomfortable. One Tucson mom is creating what she's calling a "Sensory Friendly Santa" experience in an open park area where kids won't feel overstimulated.

Katie Biehl has two sons with autism and said all their visits to Santa have ended in meltdowns, so this year, she's hoping to do something different.

Biehl said she just wants her kids to experience the magic of Santa without the complications of going to the mall.

The Santa at her event will be able to cater to each child individually. Parents will be able to chat with Santa beforehand to create the best experience for each child.

Right now, Biehl is looking to get help from the community with anything from donated Christmas decorations to snacks to therapy pets. There's also a GoFundMe for monetary donations. Click HERE to donate.

If you'd like to help, e-mail Katie at:

The event will be held December 17th from 9 to noon at 1661 North Swan Road in the park on pima and swan.