“Signing Santa” Takes Requests From ASL Community In Missouri

Signing Santa greets child in Springfield, MO.
Source Bass Pro Shops.

An extra-special Santa was in Springfield, Missouri earlier this month to take requests from some extra-special kids. 

The “Signing Santa” – an ASL-fluent Santa Claus – welcomed more than 100 deaf and hard of hearing students at Bass Pro Shops and their excitement was palpable. 

“I feel excited and happy and I like signing what I want,” Robin Jerret, a 7th grader, signed to affiliate KY3

The Deaf Awareness Group of SW Missouri, a non-profit founded by Springfield natives, has been partnering with Bass Pro Shops for the event since 2015 to host the event.     

Sadie Busch is a sign language interpreter at Jarrett Middle School.  She called the Santa experience for her students, “magical.”

The ASL-fluent Santa put smiles on the faces of 100 deaf and hard of hearing children's faces.
Source Bass Pro Shops.

“So often our kids don’t have the opportunity to communicate with anyone directly,” Busch told KY3, so for them to have access to an idol like Santa Claus who is “so precious and so special and is-all knowing” is “amazing.”

Santa was seen reading lists and signing questions to the kids in attendance, something many parents rarely see outside of their small special needs community.  

“He can communicate, and I absolutely love that they offer stuff like this,” Tashia Hill, a parent of one of those kids who saw Santa, said.

My child “signs better than he speaks, it’s great that we can have that one on one with him,” Hill said.

In addition to sharing their wishes with Santa, the children received a picture of themselves and an ornament to take home as well. 

While making a difference in the families’ lives, it’s also impacting the staff at Bass Pro Shops. 

“It’s really, really special to see the kids come in and be able to talk to Santa for the first time,” Pete Duchrow, Assistant General Manager with Bass Pro Shops told KY3.

 “I have gotten misty more than once.”