Santa Comforts Eight-Year-Old Boy with Autism at the Mall

Most children enjoy the traditional experience of meeting Santa Claus at the mall. For Baiz, an eight-year-old from Illinois, anxiety, irrational fears, and autism have always been an obstacle.

“He is very excited every single year,” Baiz’s mother, Seelye, explained, according to a report this month by “We go multiple times each year, but we have to keep our distance. He just watches and waves. The last couple of years, he has really been trying to build up the nerve to go sit by him.”

Seelye noted that Baiz’s inability to approach Santa causes him to become frustrated and disappointed to the point of tears. Both Baiz and his twin sister Layna were born prematurely, weighing only two pounds at birth. Layna, now 8, has brain damage, cerebral palsy on one side, and is non-verbal, though she is able to walk. Unlike Baiz, Layna has no fear of approaching Santa directly.

During his visit to the mall this past month, Baiz struggled with the same frustration and anxiety he has experienced for years, and climbed into a shopping cart, where he began to cry. Thankfully, the situation took a turn for the better when he was approached by Santa, who softly touched his hair, held his head gently, and reassured him.

Seelye said her son was overjoyed by this display of kindness, and that she appreciated it herself.

“I love and was so impressed that he knew Baiz wanted to see him but couldn't do it himself, versus all the children who are crying because they don't want to see him,” she said. “There is no way he (Santa) knows how much this meant for our little guy.”


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