Coastal Grand Mall opens early for families impacted by autism

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Coastal Grand Mall helped make holiday shopping easier for hundreds of families impacted by autism.

The mall opened two hours early exclusively for families with children with autism on Sunday to create a calmer environment with less stimulation. More than 40 stores and retailers inside the mall also opened earlier for the event. The mall also invited a sensory-friendly Santa that dozens of children with autism were able to sit with. Coastal Grand teamed up with Champion Autism Network and Autism Speaks to hold the event. According to Champion Autism Network Executive Director Becky Large, this is the first sensory-friendly shopping experience in the Myrtle Beach area. “When our children become overstimulated, especially the younger ones, they can have tantrums and meltdowns. To not have that judgement from the public, and just to be here with everybody who gets it, and the support of the stores, means the world,” Large said.

Both Coastal Grand Mall and Champion Autism Network hope to continue the sensory-friendly event next year.