The man dressed as Santa didn’t realise that five-year-old Dylan Taylor was just excited to meet him as he jumped up and down in the queue.
When the youngster got the front and gave his name, he was told: “Dylan, I know you are a very naughty boy and I’m afraid you are on the naughty list.”
His mum Kaliegh Taylor today (Tues) criticised the worker for failing to recognise that her son was suffering from a disability, and wasn’t misbehaving.
She said: “I don’t feel any malice towards this man but he must realise how hurtful comments like that can be, when they’re completely unnecessary.
“My son has Autism and sensory processing disorder, and it was noisy and lots going on, he was getting a bit impatient but also excited to see Father Christmas.
“I have had comments before. Someone said ‘I think your child needs a smack’ – you can’t smack autism out of a child.
“My son isn’t naughty, he’s actually struggling inside. People, especially those who come into contact need to realise that it’s not always obvious when children have disabilities.”
Full-time single mum Kayliegh, 28, told how she was “absolutely heartbroken and disgusted” to see Dylan burst into tears over the comments at the Christmas lights switch on event High Wycombe, Bucks., last Thursday.
She said: “My son burst into tears, and wanted to leave town. We had absolute heartbreaking sobs and crying for at least an hour.
“He cried himself to sleep and said he doesn’t want Father Christmas to come to him and he doesn’t want anything from him.
“We’re trying to make Father Christmas an enjoyable experience for him, not a frightening one.”
Dylan was with his siblings Callum and Katie at the time and had only recently got over his fear of Santa coming into his house as a “strange man”.
Kaliegh said: “This is a big step for him, as last year he was so petrified of the thought of a strange man coming into his house at night while we slept that he barricaded our front door.
“I was so pleased he wanted to meet him this year.
“He wanted to tell him that he wanted an X-Box for Christmas and now I’m left trying to explain to him that Santa is not a bad man.
“It should be a magical time but sadly this experience has overshadowed Christmas for him.”
Oliver O’Dell, chief executive of the High Wycombe Bid Co which organised the meet and greet, said: “Everyone who attends this event is important, from the schools and groups that perform on stage to the parents and children that turn out in the rain after school to support their town.
“We don’t want any child to have a negative experience and are sorry that this was the case.
“Father Christmas has an enhanced DBS check and is briefed to treat every child equally, unless the parent advises him otherwise.
“He uses simple, non-judgemental, language and asks the traditional question about behaviour of both the child and their accompanying adult.
“The answer, and accompanying response from the adult, will dictate the conversation. Everything is deliberately kept light-hearted with a number of photo opportunities.
“We would be happy to take the time to talk directly to any individuals who have concerns about the town centre event.”