Signing Santa Signals Christmas

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- Children with special needs from across the island chain, flocked to Pearlridge Center Thursday to meet Santa Claus, as part of the 16th annual Deaf Santa Celebration.

In a rare opportunity, they got to share their wish lists, on their terms.

Not just the deaf, but also the blind.

About a dozen of the children who attended can't see.

But, they can experience, they can feel, they can be thrilled.

''I think Santa is the greatest person in the world," exclaimed Kameron Tsue, a blind elementary school student.

Santa asked Kameron to feel his white, curly beard to which the second grader responded, "It felt weird!"

Deaf children want to share their Christmas wish list with Santa, so badly!

And, now they can.

This Santa knows sign language.

Children came from all over the state on this special day.

Tina Jacinto's granddaughter Adrianne is deaf.

Her family flew in from the Garden Isle.

''She's my baby.  I've been with her her whole life," said Jacinto.  "She can communicate with him.  We don't have that on Kauai."

Jan Fried is a sign language interpreter professor at Kapiolani Community College.

Fried volunteers her time for the event.

''This means so much to the deaf community because these are deaf children who are going to be deaf adults," said Fried.

"This is what the spirit of the holidays is all about," she said.