Dolphin Mall Recruits Signing Santa

1218iceGoing to see Santa at the mall is a time-honored tradition, but the Santa experience isn’t always that welcoming for some children. That’s why programs like Caring Santa exist—to provide a safe, comfortable environment for children with special needs to visit with the man in red.

Dolphin Mall is one mall that has earned media attention for providing a similar opportunity, this one designed for deaf and hard-of-hearing children. At the center’s Signing Santa event, children from Miami-Dade County Schools were able to visit Santa and share their holiday wishes with him in American Sign Language with parents and reporters watching on.

CBS News was there, and shared many of the children’s stories.

This year, for the first time in her life, 11-year-old Fabiola Awad got to tell Santa her Christmas wishlist, in her own language: American Sign Language.

And what a wishlist it is.

“Well, I told him that I wanted a pony, and an iPhone and iPad 2,” Awad said through a translator.

Fabiola is one of dozens of kids who are deaf or hard of hearing who came from different Miami-Dade schools to interact with this signing Santa.

The children otherwise enjoyed the same holiday experience as their hearing peers: the chilly Ice Palace grotto, footage from BBC Earth’s “Frozen Planet,” and entertainment from Microsoft Windows holiday brand ambassadors. The center’s Ice Palace is presented by Windows.

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