NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Before the Eastwood Mall was open to shoppers Sunday morning, they had a special meet-and-greet with the Easter Bunny for children with autism.
Organizers say they have the event before the mall opens to cut down on noise, which can disturb children with sensory sensitivity issues.
The music is off and they have a special system in place to avoid lines.
After a photo with the Easter Bunny, children were able to pet specially trained therapy bunnies.
“Bunnies in baskets, that’s what they’re called, and they are trained therapy bunnies. They’re trained to be gentle. Our kids can pet them nicely. They’re amazing. They don’t jump. They don’t do things like that a typical bunny would do. Our kids just love them,” said Robin Suzelis, director of the Autism Society of the Mahoning Valley.
They say the event is special because many of these children would not be able to see the Easter Bunny or even go to the mall.
This year’s event was scaled down because of COVID-19, but organizers did send kids home with a goody bag, so they can have their own egg hunt at home.