Sign Language Santa Listens to Children with His Eyes

Santa Claus and an elf, both fluent in American Sign Language, visited deaf and hard-of-hearing children in Fairfax on Wednesday at Fair Oaks Mall.

Video of Signing Santa Day at Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax.  (Jamie Rogers, Patch.)
Video of Signing Santa Day at Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax. (Jamie Rogers, Patch.)
Deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their parents came from as far away as Maryland on Wednesday for Signing Santa Day at Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax. 

Santa hosted his young guests at the mall's Microsoft Ice Palace which features a 30-foot ice dome with falling snow, light shows and interactive displays. 

Susie Brown of Springfield brought her deaf 9-month-old daughter and her hearing older child to visit with Santa and his signing elf. 

It's important to support any event for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, Brown said. Her 6-year-old son has apraxia, a muscle coordination disorder that makes it difficult to speak, but he already knows some sign language, she said. 

He unfortunately couldn't meet the signing Santa on Wednesday because he was in school, she added. 

Nicole Warman said she drove all the way from Frederick, MD to bring her children, 3-year-old Tyler and 4-month-old Parker to see Santa. 

Warman said she is deaf, but both of her children are hearing. 

Ed Cassidy, marketing and sponsorship director at Fair Oaks Mall said he'd seen many deaf parents and grandparents on Wednesday bringing their hearing children to see Santa. 

Ashburn-based HIS Sign, provided sign language interpreting services during the event.  "It gives every child the opportunity to enjoy Santa," said Ron Burke, COO of HIS Sign. 

A non-signing Santa Claus will be taking Christmas wishes until Dec. 24 at Fair Oaks.


Diane Ederer December 05, 2013 at 02:56 PM
I think this is awesome! Able-bodied children should witness this, too. Maybe then, they'll learn to have empathy for others.
Joel Shane Nunley December 05, 2013 at 03:23 PM


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