With Christmas fast approaching, everyone starts to set their minds to what they’ll be giving as presents for the holiday season. I too have started asking myself, “How will I find the perfect gift for someone with autism?”
Yes, I have a friend with autism and I know people like her cannot tell me what she wants for Christmas. Individuals with spectrum typically don’t show emotion the same way as people without the condition feel. So creating a gift list can be more labor-intensive. It’s even challenging as they don’t necessarily respond to questions like “What do you want for Christmas?”
So as early as this month, I did my research, read about autism, ask caregivers including parents of autistic people. I was amazed that if you only understand how individuals with spectrum disorder feel, finding the perfect gifts for them isn’t that hard.
Looking for the best gift for a child with autism? We have listed suitable gifts from toys to personal stuff. Check it out below.
The best gifts for someone with autism
Not only entertaining items help autistic people to become productive but some personal stuff to make their daily lives easier, as well. There are gifts that seem like a sure thing. However, to create an impact, you need to consider an amount of playfulness. This is because, in an autistic person’s mind, you should have known what he or she wanted.
Something that Boosts Communication
ALEXA and DOT can be their friends. I just learned from many parents how these devices have so many uses, especially in a special needs household.
It encourages autistic adults, teens, and even kids to speak clearly and slowly so Alexa or Dot can pick up what they want. If they like to listen to a song, then they can request music. If they have questions, need some advice about what to eat, a nice game to play for the day, or ask about the weather, the latest news, or watch movies — all these help with speech effectively.
Imagine if they have tools like these then they can do tasks easily. It sounds robotic, but technology-wise, these digitals are helpful for people on the spectrum and likewise are appreciated back.
TABLET. People with autistic needs to be surrounded by language. While many can effectively express themselves verbally, some are enthralled by electronics that they prefer to communicate this way. But note that not all communication is verbal. In this case, a tablet to point to symbols that generate words and sounds helps them express themselves with fun.
Since people with ASD have an incredibly diverse range of language skills, one great way to interact with them is to find out what his or her preferred mode of communication is.
SOUND-CANCELING HEADPHONES. Some individuals are distressed with too many auditory stimuli such as street noise, loud sounds, including the tone of your voice. The utilization of noise-canceling technology alleviates and goes a long way in encouraging social interaction. When they are relaxed, they hear clearly, understand your cue, and communicate better.
Music has been identified with an ability to modify brain behavior and serves as a strength in people with an autism spectrum disorder. Some parents say their autistic family teenager loves listening to music and enjoys the privacy and solitude of headphones.
Other than it should look and feel extremely good to the ears, wireless headphones do better as cordless is a lot convenient for them. Don’t worry if you’re paying for something pricey. Autistic individuals need high-quality sound or music to come out of the headphone. So a good pair would be a wonderful gift.
Things that Inspire
PORTABLE TELESCOPE. Watching stars or the night sky is energy-giving as exploring nature during daytime is fascinating to autistic individuals. Introduce the thrill of using 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, teen, or adult on the 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.
BOOKS. Although not all autistic individuals love to read, a good number of them do. People on the autism spectrum are often more tuned into details and books are perfect sources of information. They have a much better memory and they don’t forget what they learn. In fact, a surprisingly large number of them have photographic memories and an almost perfect memory for poems, stories, songs, colors, people, names, directors, places, and other details.
They would love to read about how the characters in the book interact in the story. Novels also boost their imagination and make for a soothing escape at the same time helping them understand how other people interact with each other. If you have a little wild-reader who is inclined to facts and figures, try an almanac type book.
GIFT CARDS. My friend, regardless of her condition, finds a gift card fun and interesting to get. I also heard from autism moms that they do always use gift cards for anything that their autistic child requires like getting new apps for music, or sensory basics from time to time. iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon gift cards are popular.
Most parents with an autistic child or family member understand the costs associated with managing their needs. So it’s perfectly a good idea to give a gift card. Just make sure you choose a card that can provide all if not most of the basic things autistic people need.
Find a gift card here.
Things that Comfort
MEMORY FOAM BEAN BAG CHAIR. People on the spectrum can often feel very vulnerable in big open spaces. This chill bean bag chair is stuffed with memory foam with density. So regardless of it doesn’t vibrate, the bean sofa molds softly and closely around the body offering a cocooning sense of security and comfort.
Because the bag chair bounces so comfortably, autistic kids, teenagers, and adults will be amused they can flop and fall on it all they want. They can collapse into the seat and allow themselves to fit tightly into the chair. It is a form of adaptive furniture that adapts to the shape and size of the user’s body. The pushing of the body against provides a sensory experience very ideal for children who have poor muscle tone.
NECK & BACK MASSAGER WITH HEAT. Like a vibrating pillow, the neck and back massager provides sensory input in a wide range of ways. Someone with autism will enjoy a rejuvenating massage even on the go. I find this a very ideal gift for traveling, road trips, and even while just at home watching tv. Many autistic people’s caregivers swear that this helps their patients.
Because it has a control heat and stimulation, it is easy to regulate the heat to achieve the coziest massage from head to toe or depending on the person’s needs. Soothing when used on the neck, shoulder, back, legs, calves, and glutes, too. Many adults or children with autism react positively to this type of sensory experience for the calming or soothing effect.
SQUEEZE RELIEVER. While this device is used for most chronic pain and sore hands or feet, it also utilizes compression therapy that offers sensory relief. Kids and adults in the autism spectrum definitely need deep pressure and sensory of that sort. Simply let them put their hand into it and the compression massager will start to massage for that pressure touch they love.
The squeeze reliever is like the firm touching, stroking, and holding that creates stimulation of the skin. A very light touch that alerts the nervous system for a relaxing and calming sensation. I’m sure this makes a fantastic Christmas present if you have an adult relative with autism.
Choosing gifts for children and adults with autism may require a deep understanding of their ways.
Contrary to the belief that people on the spectrum cannot express what they want, it is always possible to communicate with them. You can always learn about what they like, dislike, and even what they wish for. The secret is simple to ASK them.
I also believe autistic kids and teens, like other kids their age, may enjoy the same things, too. So if you’re hesitant about what exactly to give or have not asked the parent or friend of an autistic person, get a gift card. It could even be exciting to take them shopping and enjoy bonding time.
Most of the suggested gift ideas I have above are available to find but are just not widely known, except for a few parents and caregivers. I thought this list can help the family and friends of autistic people. I’ve also put together a complete guide for toys that can help a child’s development. Surely the toy suggestions make another wonderful gift for autistic children.
Do you have any gift ideas to share? It would be very helpful for people with autism. Please leave your comment below.