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Sensory Santa

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Sensory Santa is a holiday photo opportunity for families with children on the autism spectrum. For many families, posing for a photo for Christmas cards is a tradition and a fun, family activity. But for families of children on the autism spectrum, the experience of setting up the scene isn’t as easy as it seems. Sensory Santa sets the scene for families of children with autism and other sensory challenges.

Next Sensory Santa Event

Sensory Santa 2019

Check back in October for specific date/time/location

Sensory Santa is held in November so pictures can be sent as greetings for families and friends. Please check back in October of each year for specific date, time, and locations.
For more information email:


About Sensory Santa

“We wanted to be able to provide families in San Angelo with children with autism the same opportunity as others,” Shanna Payne, special education teacher and founder of Autism Alliance of the Concho Valley, said. “We think it’s important to offer this because we know that families who have children with autism miss out sometimes because ‘traditional’ sites aren’t set up to accommodate the child’s sensitive needs.”

Autism is defined as a developmental disorder that affects social and communication skills and is typically identified within the first three years of a child’s life. Sometimes, some children with autism can have difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. A photo session in a crowded department store or mall often is not the optimal site for a photo shoot.

We strive to make the event as mellow and laid-back as possible. We provide a setting that is not crowded and that is free from long lines and long waits. Even if there is a wait, we provide activity stations so that children have something to do while they wait. We ultimately hope to make the event as autism-friendly as possible.

Walk-ins are welcome but making an appointment will guarantee a smoother experience. The event typically takes place in early November in order to give families the opportunity to send out Christmas cards.

A professional Santa will be on site, and families will leave with a photo CD with up to 15 professional photos, along with copyright permissions to reproduce the photos for distribution. The $25 cost covers the photos and the copyright.

For more information about the shoot or to make an appointment, call Shanna Payne at 325-374-3392 or email