Finding the perfect gift for a child with autism is not always an easy task. Due to the various sensitivities and needs that many children with autism may have, it’s important to carefully consider what kinds of gifts are a good choice for them.
To ease your holiday shopping, here is a list of autism-friendly presents that both parents and children will enjoy!
Best gifts for ASD children
Here are some recommended sensory toys for children with ASD. The gift ideas are grouped based on the specific sensory needs of a child. And what’s convenient is finding these kids toys online.
For children with oral sensory needs:
Knobby Super Chew by Chewy Tubes
This super chew product from Chewy Tubes is a delightful oral motor toy specifically designed to provide positive oral stimulation. The product comes with a closed loop handle that can easily be grasped by children. The bitable stem of the super chew has a knobby textured surface to ensure that the oral sensory needs of a child are satisfied. This toy can be purchased for $5.81 at Amazon.com.
For children with olfactory sensory needs:
Montessori Scent Boxes/Smelling Bottles from Pink Montessori
This product features two wooden trays with six wooden cylinder boxes in each tray. These sensory items are intended to improve the olfactory senses of children, and calm children with olfactory sensory needs. The cylinder boxes have removable lids that facilitate the placement of different scents. This product is available at Amazon.com for $34.00.
For children with vestibular sensory needs:
Plastic Scooter Board with Handles from Fun and Function LLC
This recommended gift for kids helps improve the balance and motor skills of children with ASD, particularly those with vestibular sensory needs, in a fun, movement-based environment. It is also effective in developing the strength of the upper and lower extremities of a child. This ride on toy can be used by a child while sitting, kneeling, or in a prone position. This product is made of durable and high-quality materials to ensure longevity of use and the safety of its users. The toy costs $17.99 at Amazon.com.
For children with proprioceptive sensory needs:
Spikey Soft Glove Visual Sensory Fidget Toy by Magical Land Store
Manufactured from super soft, stretchy, and nontoxic material that is fun to manipulate and touch, this proprioceptive sensory toy can provide great tactile fun to children with ASD. You can let the child use this spiky glove while he/she is writing for better proprioceptive input. The product costs $15.99 at Amazon.com.
For children with visual sensory needs:
Liquid Motion Bubbler for Sensory Play from Super Z Outlet
This suggested sensory stimulation toy features descending colored bubbles that will surely soothe and calm children with visual sensory needs. This visually-stimulating toy offers endless hours of calming entertainment as it never runs out of energy. When the bubbles stop, just flip the toy over and they start again. You can buy this toy for $5.99 at Amazon.com.
Worst gifts for ASD children
Even when you intentions are good, the wrong gift could be really harmful for an ASD child due to sensory issues and overstimulation. Here are some gifts that just won’t fly for kids on the autism spectrum.
- Anything too loud, bright, or smelly:
Many kids with autism have sensory sensitivities that make certain toys and arts and crafts materials very tough to take. Examples of what to avoid include sticky stuff like “slime,” Silly Putty, paper mache kits, and the like, as well as stinky stuff like certain markers and plastics. Depending upon the child, you may also want to avoid toys that make a great deal of noise, flash brightly, or otherwise assault the senses. Parents might find noisy toys bothering as well.
- Toys That Require Advanced Fine or Gross Motor Skills:
Kids with autism may be very active, and they may adore trampolines, swings and slides, (in fact, indoor versions can be terrific holiday gifts), but most kids with autism also have at least some fine and gross motor delays that make more complex athletics difficult (and thus not much fun). Unless you know the autistic child in your life really wants them, avoid toys like jump-ropes, hackey-sacks, juggling scarves and the like. They may be attractive, but they’ll probably wind up in the junk drawer when your autistic loved one finds they’re just too tricky to manage.
- Anything that could break his/her special diet:
Quite a few kids with autism are on special diets. Most such diets exclude gluten (wheat) and casein (dairy). That means a gift of special cookies could become a serious issue: kids love ’em, but mom and dad may not. The same goes for any gluten-based or casein-based holiday treat. Before gifting food, check with Mom and Dad about special dietary issues; submit a list of ingredients before handing over the treat.
- Anything That Will Drive Parents Nuts:
Parents of kids with autism have lot of responsabilities and tasks to take on daily. As a result, you can’t blame them if they can’t muster up extra patience to deal with a toy that makes an annoying sound, for example. Even if you think it’s funny, try not to give a child with autism a toy that’s likely to say the same things over and over, or a toy that’s likely to wind up in a thousand pieces on the floor. Remember, sometimes to keep it simple is the best option.
At World Stem Cell Clinic, we believe that that having an informed parent –in an effort to empower him and his family– is the only way to for us to deliver optimal healthcare. Visit our website to find out more about our services and let us be part of your journey.