Sensitive Easter Bunny gently visits children with autism

Mary Klaus

Kristie Dionne usually has to take about 80 pictures of her son to get one good one.

On Sunday morning, the Camp Hill woman beamed as her children, Michael Abraham, 7, and Katie Abraham, 4, sat quietly beside the Easter

She smiled again when she received a free color photograph of her children.

“This is perfect,” she said of the mall’s second “Sensitive Easter Bunny” event for children with autism. “It’s safe and quiet here for Michael.”

Parents said they liked the Sensitive Easter Bunny for what it didn’t have.

It wasn’t crowded because the mall was closed, and some lights were turned down and people spoke in hushed tones.

It simply involved a quiet visit and picture with a gentle Easter Bunny who gave out candy and plush lambs. Parents said the event seemed ideal for children with autism, which hinders a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others.

Susan Ariail, Colonial Park manager, said that the mall had such great success with its Sensitive Santa program that it added the Easter bunny last year.

“We enjoy doing these programs,” she said. “We have a lot of happy kids and happy families today.”

That seemed obvious. Michael Abraham smiled, noting that “the Easter bunny is fuzzy.”

The sensitive Easter Bunny even won over Wyatt Warner, 5, of Chambers Hill, who initially wanted nothing to do with it. When his parents, Derek and Melisa Warner, and 3-year-old sister, Adela, approached the bunny, Wyatt went into his father’s arms for a family picture.

“It was hard to get him here,” his mother said. “But now we have a nice picture.”

From the Patriot News

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