Santa Claus brings extra joy to boy with autism

Mall Santa went to the floor to play with Brayden Deely

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A mall Santa Claus ditched his reindeer and gave his elves a rest to go the extra mile and bring holiday joy to a boy with autism.

During an event sponsored by Autism Speaks at a Charlotte, N.C. mall, young Brayden Deely was apprehensive about sitting on Santa's lap. So instead of waiting, Santa hit the ground to play with Brayden and his toys.

Brayden, who was diagnosed with autism just before turning three, played along with Santa in what ended up being a special moment for everyone involved.

Erin Deely, Brayden's mother, was overjoyed at her son being able to celebrate with Santa.

"Oh my gosh, to be able to do something that other families do...normally a lot of things are harder for us as a family and we got to do the same tradition as everyone else, we just do it on the floor," Erin told Autism Speaks.

The Caring Santa program gives children with special needs an opportunity to spend time with Santa during the holiday season.

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