Going to visit Santa Claus can be scary for any child. You're handed off to a complete stranger with a big beard and are told to sit on his lap. As a young kid, you're taught to stay away from strangers, and now your parents are just handing you off.
These feelings of fear are only heightened for some children with autism. The crowds, sounds, and lights can all trigger an emotional response, which can lead to a bad experience. That's why when Erin Deely found out that her son, Brayden, had autism, she and her husband assumed a traditional photo with Santa Claus was never going to happen.
However, thanks to the Caring Santa program, organized by Autism Speaks, Brayden was able to have a Christmas experience he'll remember for a lifetime.