Fairfield organization to host special Santa event for kids with delicate senses

Santa Claus will be paying a visit to a very special group of kids this weekend in Fairfield.
He will take time out of his busy schedule to stop by Rehabilitation Associates.
"We work with children with all types of difficulties and diagnosis," says Rehabilitation Associates Director of Pediatrics Ali Gilbey. "The daunting idea of having children go to the mall and stand in long lines and the lights and just the overwhelming atmosphere."
The setting and atmosphere to wait and see Santa Claus may be too much for some children, which is why the staff decided to invite Old Saint Nick to their facility.
"In contrast to the mall, we keep it nice and quiet, we keep the lights kind of low. Families come in by appointment," Gilbey explains.
"They're going to be waiting in their cars. So once they text us, we're able to grab them and bring them to the Santa area," says Alexa Laiso, an occupatipnal therapist who will be one of Santa's little helpers.
The annual event will be returning this year after COVID-19 put the event on hold in 2020.
"This year, we want to be careful with distancing and everything, so we can have them sitting on the bench or standing. Whatever they're most comfortable with," Laiso says.
For $5, families leave with a picture as well as a goody bag.
"We've always been able to get at least one good picture, even if it's with the child doing a puzzle on the floor with Santa joining versus the traditional on Santa's lap," Gilbey says. "We thought if we could find a way to do develop this one-on-one, then we could offer an experience that they might not have been able to have before."
Santa is a popular guy, so there's currently a wait list to see him.
If you want your family added to the list, you can call (203) 423-0525.
Rehabilitation Associates will hold the event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
The address is 1931 Black Rock Turnpike in Fairfield.