Children with autism have difficulty forming social connections. Some may have very limited speaking skills and can be confused by sound, light, and even people’s appearance. Taken together, these difficulties affect their ability to interact and express their thoughts.
As the holidays are fast approaching, family members and friends may wonder what gift to buy that can accommodate these needs. The best gifts for children with autism are of course items that are specially designed for them. But in case you are wondering if you can give your child the educational toys that other children have, so somehow it does not look like a therapy toy – yes there are a lot.
Kids on the autism spectrum work harder than any other child their age. So you want to top stuff and playthings that will make a child’s life and the life of those around him easier.
Hence, in schools, teachers always equip their classrooms with corresponding toys for these children and consider these items as important classroom supplies. These are things that can help them calm down, relax, concentrate, and focus.
Autistic children are not dumb. In fact, they are brilliant. They are not trying to be difficult. These kids simply have a developmental disorder that affects how they receive and process information. This is where you have to figure out which gift is best. If you are a teacher, you know the challenges of understanding an autistic student. Even the best parents need help from time to time.
Experts do advice on calming and sensory-building tools that help deliver basic communication, life skills, and comfort that may not come naturally. A specialized blanket, for example, can help people with autism to fall asleep easily, so are the glow in the dark stars. Dressing a doll or dress-ups can encourage girls to dress by themselves, therefore it helps develop everyday skills. Fidget toys can help them calm and gain more focus.
A child with slow auditory processing may find it difficult to translate a verbal request like “put on your shoes” into physical action. There are DVD games showcasing playful commands that ask players to do certain actions such as “jump” or “run.” Activities like this combine auditory and visual cues that help children follow directions.
To help you find these important gifts, I did a research and review of stuff that are perfect for a child with autism. You will love the many cool gift ideas I found. Pick any gift you believe can be very entertaining whether at play, school, or at home.
Are you in a hurry? Take a peek at the top 3 EDITOR’S CHOICE
EDITOR’S CHOICE # 1
Celestron Portable Refractor Telescope
- Equipped with a large 70mm aperture objective lens for enhanced and brighter views
- The added coating on the 70mm lens allows light to enter, providing sharper, crisper viewing of celestial and terrestrial objects during the day or at night.
- With two high-quality eyepieces (20mm and 10mm), erect image diagonal, and a travel backpack
- The travel scope is a manual alt-azimuth telescope with a panhandle to navigate the sky with ease
Understanding What Toys Are Good for Autistic Kids
Parents of autistic children surely have one thing to say, “He isn’t giving us a hard time. He is having a hard time.”
No child on the autism spectrum is trying to behave differently. Like other kids, autistic children want to play. They too want to have fun. Knowing that these children are special individuals also means it is constant that you need to use the genes, the environment, and the world around them to play important roles.
Autism affects a child’s development in different ways. While there is much more to learn about this complicated condition, don’t wait. Do your part which is to love and understand your special child. The question is what are the best toys for kids with autism and how are you able to pick what helps entertain them best.
Editor’s Choice # 2
PROGRACE Kids Tablets Android 9 QuadCore
- A 7-inch kid tablet with IPS HD touch screen, combined with 2GB RAM + 16GB ROM + expandable memory
- Equipped with quad-core CPU and the latest Android 9.0 operating system for fast access
- With advanced parental control for browse applications and content, limit usage time
- Light and portable with a silicone case for tender hands design, fall, and damage prevention
1) Toys that catch their interest
Autistic children tend to become very interested in just the same toy, like a car or an airplane. You will notice that regardless of how many attractive toys are around, there is only one toy he or she will be interested in. Sometimes parents try to stop this intensity in their child thinking it’s a habit that needs to be changed, but interest is interest, and you should go with it.
Parents got to be tricky. Playing with toys often yields a good opportunity for kids’ social and communication skills. You can think about other ways that utilize that curiosity to, even more, expand play and learning. Grab the opportunity by playing with your kids. That allows them to explore their imagination and are able to build and refine fine motor skills.
For example, you can go by rewarding certain skills, play longer with them, take turns with certain activities, or introduce a variety of toys as you play along.
2) Playthings that are not overstimulating
Many children with autism spectrum disorder become overstimulated by electronic toys with a lot of lights, sounds, and moving parts. Without them, and you, realizing it – such toys can leave them feeling overwhelmed, too carried away, and sometimes can even lead to meltdowns. They will focus too much on the toys resulting in less or no attention is given to people or children around them.
Desensitizing tools help make it easier for these children to cope with sensory challenges. Integrate textures, brightness, or sounds. The balance of movement will improve daily life. Stretchable and squishy, balls are suggested for sensory stimulation. Colorful shapes filled with clear, blue, red, yellow, and green beads or gel that moves when touched also help for extra stimulation. These toys are great for visual and tactile fun.
3) Age-Appropriate learning tools
Age-appropriate means every learning tool or certain activities are appropriate to a child’s “stage” or level of development. These toys allow children to learn new skills the help them demonstrate different interests during different stages of development. It is not essential to get toys “strictly for special children” as long as they match their age and the skills they are learning. This is an incredible way of setting expectations for these children.
It is also important for safety especially for the very young, so as not to expose them to toys that are too small and can cause a choking hazard. A toddler’s stage is typically full of energy and is curious about everything they see. Age-appropriate toys could be outdoor and ride-on toys, musical toys, building blocks, puzzles, and anything that encourages action and solutions.
Pre-schooler children love toys that offer a challenge. Simple board games, arts and crafts activities, construction toys, educational tablets, and even bikes may fit this age bracket. Teens start to demonstrate their personality so musical instruments and tablets may already be efficient tools for learning.
Editor’s choice # 3
TOPARCHERY Indoor Therapy Swing for Kids
- The swaddling sensory toy swing gives a sense of calmness that blocks out unwanted sensory stimulation
- Strengthens muscles and promotes coordination and balance while improving motor skills
- Equipped with a carabiner so it is easy to put up and take down or hang the swing every after use
- Great for indoors and outdoors
4) Toys that can be played in different ways
An autistic person’s brain is already in a hyper mood even before senses come in. It is like a computer that freezes once too many processes occur at once. Therefore, any tool that changes in routine can help tip the scales when it comes to sensory input and meltdown.
Toys that can be played in a lot of different ways are especially good for people with development inconsistencies. These provide a satisfying tactile sensation that prompts perception and responsiveness. Calming and sensory-based gifts may be vibrating items, soothing visual items such as liquid timers, or rhythmic moving motion lamps. A soothing gift is not only enjoyable but can also make life easier for the whole family.
5) Support with Play Therapy
Now, this is not a toy but a strategy you can use to make play a therapy. Children with autism find it extremely tough to relate to others. Which is why they mostly play alone with no specific goal in mind. When left on their own, they tend to stay stuck in a repetitive play, unable to explore their own interests and abilities.
Supporting them by encouraging play and social interaction leaves “space” for your child to discover his or her interest and even encourage them to talk. Use their interests and choose activities that your child can do. In that context, play becomes a way for the child to act out what is interesting to them which helps develop relationships and social/communication skills.
Let this short video help you promote language development in nonverbal children or teenagers with autism. It is good news that there are a number of effective strategies that you yourself can do.
21 Gift Suggestions for Children with Autism
**Disclosure: There are Amazon affiliate links below, meaning that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Fun & Helpful Toys
1) Wily Fox Sensory Toy Toddler Speech Therapy Toys
Children with autism oftentimes develop speech impairment and communication disorder which many times lead to difficulties when interacting with other people. Thankfully, this condition can be treated through speech therapy. The Wily Fox Speech Therapy Animal Sorting Game can help.
This game is developed by a speech therapist knowing how important a learning toy game is. It has a very simple concept but very appealing to kids, especially those with autism or speech therapy needs. The game helps develop and improve cognitive skills, problem-solving abilities, and most importantly, verbal and nonverbal capabilities.
You and your child will love the peel-and-stick Velcro. The sorting game also has 4 different biosystem backgrounds. It includes a game board and every single habitat is challenging to engage in. Different animals do take roles in the game in the form of flashcards allowing creative play and discussion.
Another great thing here is how your kids will have a blast creating stories and placing the animals in different places all over the map. A very interesting game that kids will beg to keep playing with. So easy to use and play your child will develop sorting out the colorful animal game that not only teaches lp children with autism but those with speech delay, as well.
Do not worry, Wily Fox Sensory Toy Toddler Speech Therapy Toy has an instruction sheet or guide that contains the objectives, the game rules, and some suggestions of multiple games that kids can play using the boards. Another plus is, on top that the cards are made of superior quality and safe materials, there is a little space provided to keep all the little pieces together.
2) ArtCreativity Classic Pin Art Game Set Pin Art Toy
Let your child’s creativity come to light with a game that lets them create hand imprints. Kids with autism will definitely have a lot of fun capturing different shapes of images. Let them place their hands, fingers, toys, and common objects to form interesting 3-D images.
This Classic Pin Art Game Set is a toy that is highly tactile. It comprises movable and super flexible metal pins, which project through the other side of the plate when pressed. The pins are soothed and blunted at their ends to prevent resistance and will never puncture the skin. Instead, it creates a surface that feels so comforting when touched.
One of the most common acts of bored and fidgeting children is they bounce one leg repeatedly. Using a hand spinner can is a very helpful tool to disengage them from the moment. Use it as a tactile fun in your sensory activities.
Any kid can come up with as many exciting designs as they can think up. Create tumps up, a peace sign, a shape of an entire hand, and many more. With so many different shapes one can create, this makes a super relief toy and an interesting fidget that kids with autism will find a very entertaining activity at any time of the day.
What you too will appreciate in this Classic Pin Art Game is that even adults can keep engaged and entertained for long hours. What is so good about this toy is how you could fully attend to a child’s sensory needs and develop bursts of their creativity at the same time.
3) Fidget Hand Spinners
Fidget Hand Spinners have become really popular recently that a lot of people have been buying them for their kids.
Fidget tools have also been used by therapists and teachers to provide kids with autism the sensory break they need to cope with all the sensory information they encounter. The way fidget spinners rotate between the fingers carries a momentum that provides a pleasing sensory experience.
The Fidget Hand Spinners came from ancient Tibetan meditation traditions with the belief that it has a calming effect on the mind, body, and soul. In the case of autism spectrum disorder, children typically soothe themselves outwardly by biting their nails or tapping their fingers.
Fidgets are designed to help children with special needs focus or cope with their need to be constantly moving. Spinning this tool allows their mind to become more focused on distracting habits, which in turn will slowly put the mind at ease and calm.
These spinners are made of high-quality material to ensure that they stand and last long. The set consists of 25 pieces of fidget spinners that come in 10 random colors. This is an added benefit kids by nature are attracted to colors so they will spin it in so many ways and divert their attention from being bored. The weight is kid-friendly. Also very handy you can simply put them in a goodie bag.
4) Creativity for Kids My First Sock Puppets – Hand Puppets for Kids
Children with autism generally have challenges engaging in imaginative play or in developing healthy imaginations. Sock Hand Puppets help in this area. By engaging the child creatively and meeting what they need, you can help them develop this skill in fun ways.
Creativity for Kids My First Sock Puppets is a no-mess activity that encourages kids to decorate puppets using peel and stick accessories. It is very convenient that everything is included – it has 3 super-soft socks, peel-and-stick felt shapes, wiggly eyes, and pom-poms.
Depending on the age and ability of the child, your role is simply to motivate imagination but helping them create 3 unique sock puppets. Your child can put on a one-person puppet show or invite friends and family to join the fun. A good toy for interactive play that allows players to come up with characters.
It is a lot of fun while learning. The different textures and shapes provide a fun sensory experience that develops fine motor skills. With little imagination, it fosters imaginative play, and because there is no right or wrong way to decorate the puppets, your child will create a unique design that promotes self-expression.
Not only is this set good for the kids’ creativity and tactile awareness, having Sock Puppets are really great for language development.
5) Playmags 3D Magnetic Blocks for Kids
Learning seems easier when it is fun and full of colors. By fitting together dozens of vibrantly- colored magnetic building tiles in unique patterns, your child can construct anything they imagine.
A child’s abilities improve when they get learning opportunities while playing. This set of 3D Magnetic Tiles stimulates problem-solving motor skills and shape recognition. The opportunity to form many unique shapes and things out of tiles can help improve sensory processing without losing too much interest while playing.
This educational fun tool allows children to become deeply involved in the concepts of shapes, symmetry, architecture, and basic math concepts. Children will acquire analytics and evaluation skills. Holding and positioning the small tiles also increases precision and eyes/hand coordination competences.
Even though some children with ASD may not have the verbal skills to fully express their interest here, they may be creative enough to have the puppet make a sound or do a dance or gesture. The storytelling or imaginative play can very often reflect some real issues that may not have been noticed.
The 3D Magnetic Blocks come with the basic squares, three types of triangles, and large squares. This set contains 82 durable tiles with super strong magnets. This is perfect for either small group activities at school and on playdates or bonding family activity at home.
For a plaything that is more than a toy but a tool for creativity, colorful and so fun to play along with your child – you can say wow! Go construct castles, houses, towers, and anything else you can think of.
6) Educational Insights Teachable Touchables Texture Squares, Sensory Toys
Did you know that hyposensitivity to touch and movement has something to do with neurological disorders? If a normal person finds benefit from touching a few things, a hypersensitive person would want to touch everything around them. They also crave a good sensation of certain fabrics against their skin.
Scratchy, silky, velvety, bumpy, fuzzy, nubby, slippery, or soft – these Teachable Touchable Texture Squares have different surface feels and sensory stimuli for autistic toddlers.
You may have noticed that your child may be curious about textures in different materials. This is a sign that these tools can be an effective sensory play. But there are certain objects with textures that may cause an overwhelming sensory stimulation. These tools may help you find out which texture can display discomfort to your child.
The Touchable Texture Squares are great for sensory breaks. A child can hold a piece, sit down, and relax while playing. The sensory toys are also easy to grasp and play with as they are designed for little hands.
In addition, the set includes an activity guide or sheet with educational inputs on proper descriptors that match the different textures and correctly distinguish different materials. Use this social exercise to increase interactivity and telecommunication. You want to help develop and build tactile awareness in children with autism while improving communication and matching skills at the same time.
7) The Original PlasmaCar – Twist, Turn, Wiggle Ride On Toy
The Plasma Car is a very appealing toy car that requires no gears and pedals, no leg power, or batteries to make it move. Just twist, turn, and wiggle for endless fun.
The PlasmaCar is easy to operate and helps your child develop coordination, balance, and motor skills while harnessing the natural forces of inertia, centrifugal force, gravity, and friction. It is extremely enjoyable your kid will be excited to just hop on, put their feet up on the footrests, turn the stirring wheel, and go.
Additionally, this car toy has a sleek design with a patented safety seat PlasmaCar by PlaSmart. Ideal for children 3 years old and up. So if pedaling a bicycle is quite tough for special children, then this car will let a child enjoy a ride in the house without any prompting from parents or caregivers.
Aside from providing your child plenty of exercises, you too will enjoy as a PlasmaCar is adult-friendly too. Use the car indoors or outdoors. The sleek, strong, and sturdy design will allow an exciting speed up to 6 mph on smooth flat surfaces. With the poly wheels, it gives a super smooth ride and loads of fun. It is quiet too. The only sound you will hear is the sound of the wheels.
One thing it benefits a child with autism is the opportunity to learn how to problem-solve explore riding while at the same time solving the problem-solve or estimate if the plasma car will fit through certain spaces and which obstacle to moving out of the way.
8) Sign Language: My First 100 Words
Teaching sign language along with spoken language has been demonstrated to help children with autism to become better at speaking and understanding the English language. The visual “sign” language speeds up speech development and a means to express themselves before they learn how to talk.
The Sign Language: My First 100 Words Book is one of the kid-friendly books of a fresh new perspective to beginners who want to learn the American Sign Language. It also comes with a poster of the sign language alphabet.
The book showcases a cool computer-generated illustration and design that are simple but fun to understand. With themed illustrations, a child can learn 100 basic signs for everyday use such as Food, Colors, and Animals. Not only that, but the package also includes instructions on how to fingerspell the entire English alphabet and numbers. This alone is an accommodative feature.
You will find it easy to understand and retain. You can put the accompanying ASL alphabet poster anywhere your child likes spending time in the house for quick reference when building sentences.
If you are a parent, this tool will give you a bunch of helpful tips as well as colorful graphics enough to unlock a child’s trapped mind and keep him engaged. Not only you are helping your kid learn the English Sign Language, and develop a greater competency in communication, but it also increases parent-child bonding.
9) PROGRACE Kids Tablets Android 9 QuadCore with Parental Control Toddler Children’s Tablet IPS 7″
Oftentimes, children with autism do get tired of toys quickly. A tablet can motivate kids on this spectrum to interact and develop social skills by enabling visual and alternative communication and learning.
With the tablet’s ability to play games and show fun educational content, it allows parents and teachers to continuously provide an extremely effective reinforcer that reduces problem behaviors. This is a positive experience for the entire family.
The PROGRACE Kids Android Tablet has a quad-core CPU and an Android 9.0 operating system that offer fast access and a better user interface. Accompanied with its IPS HD touch screen, 2GB RAM + 16GB ROM, it assures the user a smooth usage.
The tablet is pre-installed with the iWawa App, a program containing a variety of kid-friendly content such as stories, art, music, painting, puzzle games, and more. Here, kids can explore the internet and search for new knowledge as well as download educational content by using Google Play or YouTube.
The PROGRACE Kids Android Tablet is made of durable and lightweight materials to ensure it is light and portable a child. Along with it is the silicone case intended to create a grip that helps prevent the tablet from falling and being damaged. The back bracket is adjustable as well, making it convenient to watch videos and play games on the table.
10) New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe – A Favorite Nintendo Switch Game
If you have bought your kid a Nintendo Switch, then you should buy him this game, as well. Not only it is kid-friendly, but it is also a very entertaining video game that has been known as one of the most played games for children of all abilities.
The Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is an iconic video game that offers a variety of playable characters with unique attributes that affect gameplay and platforming physics. They are Mario, Luigi, Toad, Toadette, and Nabbit. Mario is Mario.
Mario has the powers of jumping, running, and obtaining power-ups. Luigi is Mario’s brother, and has the same controls and move sets just like Mario. Toad is the yellow toad who has the same controls of the two but you can change his color from being a yellow toad to a blue toad by holding down the L button on the character selection screen.
Kids and less-experienced players will love playing as Toadette, who is a new character to the game, and Nabbit also, who was formerly only playable in its sister game New Super Luigi U. Both Characters have extra assistance and tips during play.
The game has three additional modes – Boost Rush, Challenges, and Coin Battle. The mix gameplay adds replayability while increasing difficulty for players who want to try something harder on the game. Here, children with autism can either play with you or their older brothers or sisters.
11) BIMBOX Augmented Reality Kids Memory Animal Game – Bonus: Self-Learning App
A huge part of the autism spectrum disorder is not being able to express emotions and a hard time trying to come in terms with reality. Anime is fun and a mind-stimulating game that helps an autistic person read and express emotions. With close parental guidance, everything can get easier.
Interacting with the BIMBOX Augmented Reality Kids Animal Game provides hours of educational fun. There are 22 animal-themed cards with instructions and a self-learning app to make learning exciting. This app enables your child to scan the playing cards. It also comes with trivia questions, interesting facts, and more.
This app is compatible with iOS9 devices, Android devices Jelly Bean 4.2 and above. Simply download the add-on app using a unique code to your iOS or Android phone. The next thing is you will be seeing the animal coming to life on the screen in front of you.
Here is the best thing: The app indeed reads out loud educational facts about the animals and asks trivia questions about them. So it produces animal sounds and speaks the written words which are highly fun and interactive. To play the matching memory game place all cards face down, flip and match 2 cards and the player with the most pairs wins.
BIMBOX Interactive Games are designed by a child development expert. These are augmented reality games that can be played alone or in groups to develop visual memory and spatial perception in a fun and lively environment so even 3-year old children can participate.
12) Anger Management Workbook for Kids: 50 Fun Activities to Help When They Feel Mad
Emotions are a part of human nature but for children with autism is a very different and even challenging angle for parents and teachers. Many times, some become very angry and quickly get aggressive that may be hard to deal with.
Let this Anger Management Workbook for Kids give you 50 fun activities that help kids, ages 6-12, manage angry feelings the fun way – from drawing and coloring to writing, meditating, making crafts, moving your body. It is a big workbook that includes a feel-good habits topic on how to react better in situations that makes a child mad.
Allow your child to discover ways to recognize angry feelings and teach them to react to them in a safe manner, so they can be nice to themselves and others. Tell them to draw a picture of what their anger looks like, or let them write about their feelings and needs in different situations.
The Anger Management Workbook for Kids includes assorted exercises that encourage any child to doodle, write, meditate, and make crafts as they work out through their angry feelings. It also includes factoid about anger so that kids can learn what anger is, how it feels, how to look out for it, and more.
We all get angry sometimes, but we can choose how to express those feelings. Once kids start to develop a sense of freedom from their own emotions―they are not to be ignored or pushed away. By validating the processes and circumstances that are creating them―great self-regulation skills can start to develop.
13) Leapfrog Learning Collection: Educational Videos
This is another educational DVD that features alphabet learning, how to count numbers, and reading. Leapfrog Learning Videos are very educational movies that playfully introduce children to phonics and reading.
Children who watched the DVD for at least 15 minutes a day for a month become much more adept at recognizing facial expressions and the emotions behind them. Each emotion, such as happy, afraid, sad, or angry, will cultivate and enhance their ability to read facial expressions.
Leapfrog makes it very easy to remember what sounds the letter makes by making them into charters. Very motivating, the songs are perfect even for the younger kids – they can walk around singing these songs all the time. Special features include sing-along songs to help your little ones learn, complete with a string of read-along words that run across the screen.
Deep inside this Leapfrog Learning Collection are bonus book stories with pictures, words, and images that bring stories to life. They will love to know Tad, Lily, Casey, and Dot whose characters put a few new twists on a classic tale. The result is a fun-filled adventure that turns reading into a delightful game.
It is highly recommended for preschoolers who are having a lot of pressure to get him ready for Kindergarten. Letting them watch the LeapFrog Learning Collection videos over and over will help get them used to the sounds and rhymes of the alphabet in time. Sort of a go-to “movie” to watch any time at home, on the weekends, or when traveling, as well.
14) Celestron – 70mm Travel Scope – Portable Refractor Telescope
Play and learning preferences of children with autism spectrum disorder are more on the naturalistic setting and activities with a strong sensory component. Hence, school trips for these children should also be organized.
Introduce spectrum kids to the thrill of stargazing using this Celestron Travel Scope, a real portable refractor telescope designed just for them. Watching and observing stars can be very calming to the mind and an option that is most likely to appeal to children with ASD.
This portable refractor telescope has powerful eyepieces for close-up viewing. It is equipped with two high-quality eyepieces (20mm and 10mm) that provide low- and high-power views of celestial objects at night and terrestrial objects during the day. A perfect tool for young astronomers.
Any child on the autism spectrum will be entertained to discover the beauty of the moon and the heavenly constellations. It has a pretty good focus it can take the moon and makes it look like a large marble that is placed a few inches from your eye that is in pretty good focus.
Then switch it out for the higher magnification eyepiece to experience the magnificent shape and craters of the moon as they explore other parts of the cool space. From these thoughts alone – it can be very mind-stimulating.
The Celestron Travel Scope 70 can go anywhere—from your backyard to another continent. With ample optical performance, it is packed and ready in this ultra-portable backpack kit. A perfect gift with a tripod, software, and a bonus bag. Accessories also include a FREE download of one of the top consumer rated astronomy software programs.
15) Totobay [Newest Generation] Remote Control Ocean Wave Projector
Having a child with special needs can be challenging. That is why you want the best for them. What do you think of these 12 LEDs & 7 color-changing modes night light and built-in mini music player for living room and bedroom?
Autistic children are susceptible to mood changes due to lighting. Worst is, humming, flickering, and harshly colored lights can be confusing or hurtful to them. This is where lights with mellow colors can help. Providing lighting that is controllable and monitored in the child’s room can help them relax.
Totobay’s Remote Control Ocean Wave is a glowing projector. The oceanside design makes them feel like they are on the ocean, sitting and enjoying the waves and taking the temper right out of their heads. It has a remote control that can be used to control the duration of the lights to your preference. It is also adjustable to any angle you choose to give the perfect ambiance.
What is a lot of fun is you can choose from 7 colorful light modes. It includes an automatic timer that you can switch between 1-hour, 2-hours, and 4-hours. If you want it to stay lit all night, simply regulate through the remote control. Use any of the two modes, sensor key, and remote control that comes with a USB cable and wall adapter to create that calm environment you want.
One of its features is a mini- speaker that plays anything sound or music you want. Just plug it in your computer, cellphone, MP3. A TF card can also be inserted in this to play a certain lullaby or sleeping sound for your precious one.
16) Super Soft 5 Lbs Calming Weighted Blanket for Kids
People with autism have so much energy that they have issues with sleeping or staying still. So you want a kind of blanket to help them with that. You need a sensory blanket that will put them to sleep with ease and stay asleep for long periods of time.
This Supersoft & Calming Weighted Blanket is made with the science of pressure therapy to provide the feeling of being hugged. It comes with a cover that is pre-attached and made of a special kind of fabric with dots for that sensory stimulation needed. The weighted blanket itself ties on the inside to the plush outside cover, keeping it from slipping around inside the cover.
You will love that the blanket’s size is tailored to fit a child. They can even carry it around the house to snuggle in. They are also super soft you may even want to borrow it from them once in a while. This cover is machine-washable so if your child accidentally spilled something on it, you can easily wash the blanket and it goes clean again.
Material wise, the blanket is 100% airy cotton and jam-packed with hypoallergenic micro glass beads to ensure a firm and consistent pressure simulating the feeling of being hugged. It also boasts strong stitches to keep the beads from moving or leaking around to the edges. Plus, it comes with 7 colors to choose from.
So for your restless sleeper, get her this blanket for a good all-night sleep. She will like the soft material and bumpy texture. She can use it during reading, story-telling time, nap time, or any time she needs some time quiet and restful.
17) Harkla Sensory Compression Sheet for Kids (Queen)
Although this compression sheet makes a perfect alternative to a weighted blanket, it does not involve any weight at all, but a stretchy pressure system to achieve the same effect as added weight. With the thinner breathable material and no additional weight, it does not build heat while sleeping.
A compression sheet is comforting through deep touch pressure which regulates your child’s nervous system, just like giving them a secured hug. Harkla’s snuggle sheet offers great sensory input helping your child feel safe and relaxed.
Compression sheets help with autism, ADHD, and sensory processing disorders. The Harkla Sensory Compression Sheet’s main goal is to make your child relaxed and ready for deep and restful sleep. This sheet uses pressure therapy which normalizes your child’s nervous system (just like a big, warm hug!), hence making them feel safe and relaxed in bed.
It is sturdy with its double-stitched seams that really gives the perfect feeling of being embraced. Very easy to attach to your child’s mattress – simply cover or wrap it around the mattress and it fits snugly around two-thirds of the bed. What is good is it allows you to leave plenty of room for the feet to stick out in case your child doesn’t want his/her feet to be compressed.
This sensory-friendly compression sheet has three sizes to choose from: Twin, Full, and Queen sizes. The downside maybe is that it only covers 75% of a queen bed, but overall – it helps a child with autism feel the consistent pressure of the tight blanket around the body.
18) Weighted Compression Vest for Children (Ages 2 to 4)
A Weighted Compression Vest is a sensory instrument to help increase focus, concentration, and self-regulation. It provides provide proprioceptive input through the use of deep pressure which sends signals to the brain. The main purpose is to make a person calm.
It is also easy to adjust with its Velcro and pockets for additional weight. When your child is feeling a bit overwhelmed, give him this vest so she regains focus and be able to relax. Add it to your child’s daily sensory must-haves and bring it on car rides or outdoor trips to improve the travel experience.
19) Weighted Dog Neck Pillow – Stuffed Animal Series
Fun and functional, this Weighted Dog Neck Pillow functions as a sensory tool and plush toy. It features a soothing weight that is so comforting for a spectrum child. It wraps perfectly around the neck to help calm the nerves and give added comfort.
This treatment is oftentimes used to help people with autism or other disorders to focus on sensory experiences, which experts say may boost these individuals’ ability to control their emotions and behavior. Weighted clothing, in general, is among the most effective tools therapists use to provide “deep-touch pressure.”
Children love animals and the thought of having their favorite buddies closely beside may help them calm down and focus. Use it to help kids pay attention in class or use it at home to help your child focus while doing homework. Just leave it on your child’s neck to help ease tension all throughout.
The curved design fits comfortably secured around the neck making it easy to put on anytime. It also feels comfortable on the neck and shoulder. Let your child wear the dog pillow around the shoulders or across the lap to calm fidgety legs. The pillow’s soft textures are an added bonus of an enjoyable tactile experience.
This Weighted Dog Neck Pillow can be worn around the neck or rolled up and used as a lap pad during traveling, circle time, or quiet time. Made with 100% polyester fiber and filled with well-distributed plastic pellets to give your child the right amount of pressure and sensory stimulation.
20) TOPARCHERY Indoor Therapy Swing or Hammock for Kids Child and Teens
Individuals who have sensory issues tend to find it difficult to sleep at times. The disruptive nights and the lack of sleep are magnified in people on the autistic spectrum which can result in irritable mood-swings and behavior.
The swinging motion of this Indoor Therapy Swing or Hammock has a calming effect on people with this state of mind. Other than coordination and balance, the motion strengthens the muscles and improves motor skills. With hours of comforts and swaddles, stimulation is endless. Your child is getting a fun therapeutic experience.
When people with sensory issues feel that a stressful situation is building, their mindset finds it confusing to distinguish moods and outcomes. The swaying motion of a hammock has been proven to be beneficial in alleviating stress and preventing problematic episodes from occurring.
One reason why many moms put crying babies in therapy swings is that it further improve the child’s system in their body that is in charge of organizing sensory information. The same way that this particular therapy swing will also improve an autistic child’s body system.
While swing therapy improves core and muscle strength, hammock therapy aims to develop body awareness and concentration. Its best for indoor use but if you prefer using it outdoors, better not leave it for long hours so its nylon will not easily fade.
TOPARCHERY Indoor Therapy Swing or Hammock is hand-washable. It also comes with a large carabiner which means you can easily put it up and down as you please.
21) Howard Leight by Honeywell with Multi-Position Dielectric Safety Earmuff
Children with special needs often have auditory processing disorder. It is for this reason that noise-reducing headphones or earmuffs can come very helpful in loud spaces. These personal tools can lower the overall decibel rate of background noise, reduce strain on the ears, and allow your child to better hear someone speaking to them.
The Howard Leight II with Multi-Position Dialectric Earmuff is a multi-position headband that can be adjusted to fit over and behind the head and under the chin. This can be easily worn with face shields, respirators, and other personal protective equipment. This is a great alternative to cap-mounted earmuffs which provide the same hearing protection to the user.
This earmuff is very lightweight and can be custom-fitted to the user’s head size. Also comes with dielectric construction for added protection in electrical environments. It has muffs designed with comfortable foam padding and are great in protecting hearing in high noise environments. though they lack much bass, the audio quality is superb
Its noise reduction rating is at 25 so you can be assured that your child is getting the best hearing protection there is. The headphones work well enough to block out most sound from 24+ people in a classroom making them great for students who have a difficult time focusing.
What makes the Howard Leight Earmuffs perfect for kids is the larger ear-opening that can accommodate a child’s entire ear, resulting in a more comfortable fit. But while the earmuffs will perfectly fit for children and teens, they would not be as effective for small kids.
You probably already know that not only toys can help increase their productivity, but some personal stuff to make their daily lives easier, as well.
Your house can be stocked with all the best you can provide, but to make all those special needs toys truly impactful, you also need to play with your child.
To help you up with the best toys, my top gifts are DVD learning tools. It is proven that the more events, incidents, and stories that he watches, the more he gets aware of people’s different emotions that help the child to become more adept at recognizing facial expressions as well as the emotions behind those expressions.
Weighted stuff is what I found extremely functional. Some of these children may be craving for the calming and stress-reducing hug of a weighted blanket, vest, shirt, or a neck wrap. Just see to it that you first check with the child’s parent before buying a weighted product so you are sure that the weight needs match that of the child’s size and need for pressure.
Whatever gift you pick for your autistic child, it is a smart idea to use it as a motivation or reward to support and strengthen other positive behaviors. Anything that reduces a tantrum episode or that which strongly relaxes the child – is worth spending.
Do you think there are gift suggestions that I have missed? Do you have any suggestions as to the best present for a child with autism? I appreciate it if you can leave comments below.
1) What exactly is Autism?
Autism (or ASD) is a wide spectrum disorder caused by abnormalities in brain structure. ASD is not a single neurological disorder, but a group of developmental disorders involving a wide range, “a spectrum,” of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability that can disrupt communication, social relationships, and academic skills. This means that every person on the autism spectrum has unique abilities and challenges. Some are mildly impaired by their symptoms, while others are severely disabled.
2) When giving a gift to an autistic child, do we have to consult or ask for gift ideas first? Can we simply give anything we believe will benefit the child?
From the name “special child,” their ways are different. There are certain gifts that may be unwelcomed. Also, the recipient may not be able to get past the dissatisfaction of receiving the gift that seems not appealing.
For example, certain age brackets may be a safe gift choice like dolls for 3-7 years old girls and a train set for 6-12-year-old boys. However, there are kids on the autism spectrum that don’t share the same age-appropriate interests as their peers. They also often have extreme or unusual preferences when it comes to gifts or toys that they like to play with.
Depending on the child’s mood, he may receive these gifts with disinterest. Worst is, the child may become upset or become enraged to see that he received something he doesn’t want. In some cases, there are kids who will politely thank you for the gift despite the disappointment.
3) Who is the best person to ask about gifts for a child with autism?
The parents, family members, or caregivers are the best person to ask if you are not sure what to gift a child on the spectrum. They are the people who closely deal with the child every day.
4) Are the parents’ or caregiver’s gift suggestions always right?
Parents know best when it comes to their autistic children. So it pays to honor their suggestions. Even if you think they are recommending something that sounds too common or redundant, do not ignore any of their suggestions. It doesn’t matter if the child already has a collection of a particular item. Something new in a special child’s eyes may be very interesting.
Similarly, it is a good thing to remember that when it comes to a special interest, all things are possible. Parents and the kids may even be thankful there are multiple ready-to-play items available anytime.
5) Is giving a gift card a good idea?
Gift cards, vouchers, or certificate are great and a very practical way of gift-giving as it allows the child to get the exact gift he likes. Although on the other hand, it may require both the parent and the child to spend extra time shopping.
Try checking first with their parent or caregiver if a gift card, voucher, or certificate would be a welcome gift for the child. But just in case you find yourself needing more inspiration, check some of the gift suggestions from above, or find the top gift cards you may like.
6) Which is a better gift for the spectrum child? A toy for fun or a tool for learning like DVDs?
Both are great gifts. While “therapy” types of gift items seem to make great gifts for the spectrum child, appropriate toys can also serve as learning materials which are fun. If you give toys, children with autism will experience the joy of learning how to play without it becoming drudgery. For some kids, the “learning” gifts like DVDs are the most welcomed.
The best advice here is to talk with the child’s parents first to check about the child’s personality or disposition when it comes to favorite toys and types of gifts.
7) I like giving books. Do spectrum kids relate to books? Will they appreciate it?
This depends on the child. It is why I purposely did not include this type of gift on my gift list. Even though there are a number of books ideal for a child with autism, still it depends on the child’s nature.
If you like the idea of giving a book, again I suggest that you check with the child’s parents to learn about the child’s interests as well as book suggestions. Many children on the autism spectrum are smart. In fact, they really are smart people.
Some may appreciate reading about nature, others only enjoy lovely images of animals and the world around us. There are also those who are enthralled with the solar system, airplanes, and rockets, stars and planets, or kids who may thrive with trivia books. Children have different likes and dislikes. Each kid is unique and so are special kids.
8) What do you think is the best Christmas gift every spectrum child is dreaming to receive on Christmas day?
I think the key to finding this dream Christmas gift is to know the child’s special interests. Children with autism tend to have little or no desire for gifts outside their area of interest. This is where other well-intentioned gifts become a source of anxiety – because it disappoints them for not getting exactly what they wish for.
Children with autism by nature are filled with surprises that bring changes to their normal routine. If normal children have the ability to appreciate what is given to them, autistic children have difficulty regulating emotions. They express disappointment through tantrums. This is why it is important to check what a special child may want for a Christmas gift before shopping. I think that effort (on your part) is a well-worth time spent for a special child on Christmas.
9) Can you give a general bird’s eye view or clues about the best gifts for children with autism?
These are the best suggestions I found on the internet:
- Sensory toys
- Video games
- Educational DVDs and games
- Weighted products
- Fidget Items
- Cool moving lights
- Quality time
Children with autism do not necessarily respond to questions like “What do you want?” So it is all up to you now as the giver to do your part and make one, two, or a lot of special children happy.
10) Do you have a piece of advice about what items to avoid giving a spectrum child?
Do not give anything that is hazardous like toys with lead or mercury content, toys that are age-appropriate but are unwelcome, toys that strictly require social Interaction or verbal skills, or plaything that can trigger sensory overload such as sticky, slimy, or odorous stuff. In short, avoid items that an autistic child may find too delicate or complicated to manage.
You might also love to consider a gift for parents, caregivers, and teachers who have devoted all their time to providing their children the love and support they need and deserve.
One best tip! When searching for a present, try to remember that children with autism have very specific needs, likes, and dislikes. Once you define these needs, finding the right gift is smooth-sailing.