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Sensitive Santa Meets Children With Autism In Foxboro

FOXBORO (CBS) --During Santa's annual appearance at Bass Pro Shops, he took an hour in the morning to visit with some of his fans who he doesn't usually get to meet.

Bass Pro Shops and the May Institute partnered up to bring children with autism a special Santa experience for the second year in a row. On Saturday, more than 40 area children with autism and sensory processing challenges had the opportunity to meet Sensitive Santa, an autism-friendly version of the North Pole's head elf.

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Families enjoyed a modified version of the store's annual Santa's Wonderland. (WBZ-TV)

Children, who pre-registered with the May Institute, were able to meet with Sensitive Santa and participate in sensory-friendly activities and crafts at the event. The idea, according to a news release, is to bring a Christmas experience kids with autism typically miss out on because it's too overwhelming by tailoring it to their needs.

"There's no over-stimulation for the children, so they are able to come in and not be distracted," Mary Tiernan, of the May Institute, said, "and focus on what they are here to do, which is see Santa."

"We know coming back this year is the only way we'd have a successful visit with Santa," mother Nancy Goyette said.

For the event, Bass Pro Shops modified its annual Santa's Wonderland, turning off music and lowering lights. It ran from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Dec. 10, and will happen again at the same time on Dec. 17. 

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