Virtual visits! Santa uses sign language to connect with children

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – It’s not always the sounds of the season that make spirits bright, but the signs. This year, Santa is using sign language to connect with children who are hard of hearing or deaf and he’s doing it through virtual visits.

“The Christmas magic and the Christmas love is still there,” said the Santa who knows sign language. Early Thursday morning he fired up his command center to chat with Lucas Phelan, 5.

“Hello,” said the young boy with a big smile on his face.

“Around the age of two, we became aware of his hearing loss so he has a cochlear implant and a hearing aid and they work together to give him access to sound,” said Erica Phelan, Lucas’ mom.

The Signing Santa works with families from Hitch-Up, Hearing Impaired Toddlers and Children Have Unlimited Potential. The non-profit connects families who have children who are hard of hearing or deaf.

“It’s so great that Santa does this and that people are still willing to do a lot of our children. It’s really special,” said Phelan.

“This group is special to me because of the support they give and the encouragement,” said Santa who has watched children grow up over the years.

The pandemic presents another challenge for people who are hard of hearing.

“Wearing masks with Covid-19 really muffles the sound so we’re working to be as close to Lucas as possible when we are speaking. His teachers even wear a microphone that amplifies their voices which goes straight to his devices,” Phelan said.

The virtual visits remove that barrier and keep all of the families safe. Santa gave Lucas a top-secret virtual tour of his command center that has a camera pointed on the reindeer and another with a look into his workshop.

Times are not the easiest for many families, which is why Santa was determined to make these virtual visits via Zoom happen. This weekend, he will connect with dozens of families. Most of them he met with in person last year at Northlake Mall. Santa knows sign language very well and is able to communicate with children who are deaf.

“I tell my people at the North Pole to do your part, be smart, and to have a heart. Be kind and share the magic of Christmas with everyone,” said Santa.

Lucas loved every minute of his one-on-one time with Santa. He wanted to show him just about everything in his house and talk about the movie, Elf.

If you’d like to learn more or connect with other families across the Queen City click here.

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