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A holiday, birthday, or some other special event could be just around the corner, and you want to find the ideal gift for a little one on the spectrum. This is actually harder than it looks since many children with autism have a difficult time expressing themselves.
Hence, you can’t really be sure what they want and may only be able to work with what you know about them so far—which might not be enough, given their young age. Then again, some have no problem rattling off their wish list. In any case, you can do no wrong with the best sensory toys for autism and should go for them if you remain undecided until the end.
Nevertheless, the range of gifts for your unique youngster is a lot broader than it used to be. So, with more time on your hands to think and shop, it’s unlikely you have to settle on a present that gives anything less than pure, unadulterated joy.
What Makes the Perfect Gift for an Autistic Child?
Regardless of where your child has landed in the autism spectrum, they are still very much an individual. Add that to the fact that ASD presents itself differently in every diagnosis, and you’re prevented from working with a blanket statement where gifts for autistic children are concerned.
That is true even with sensory toys. While generally great gifts for children with ASD, not all toys will appeal to particular children. Thus, apart from your child’s inherent uniqueness, you would also have to consider their age, level of cognition, and skills when choosing these gifts.
Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Truth be told, it actually isn’t.
You will find below a list of gifts made in consideration of a child’s age, unique personality, and manifestations of their disorder. These qualities make for the perfect combination of a fulfilling and educational present.
Best Gifts for Children With ASD
So, what gifts are ideal for specific age groups? We listed some of them below based on their age.
Presents for Toddlers
Your two-year-olds or three-year-olds are bound to like the following:
- Sensory Rattles
Scouring the market, you should easily find rattles especially made for intellectually or developmentally disabled young ones. The more sensory-centered Wiggly Giggler is one of them. Aside from helping hone developmental skills, this toy is also vibrantly designed and entices youngsters to use it in play and exploration.
- Books for Calming
When your child’s emotions are all over the place, you sometimes don’t know what to do. Literature that should help you and your children navigate this learning curve is “calming” books. These books are packed full of color and beautifully written, easy-to-understand words.
As its name suggests, it allows you to incorporate calming techniques in your storytelling, which helps bring down your little one’s emotions to a simmer. This may help them get the much-needed rest and calm they deserve.
- Colorful Water Mats
Now, these gifts can give your children the perfect sensory overload. They’re already a visual treat, to begin with, but their squishy surface, when filled with water, can truly make for a day of endless fun and laughter. Additionally, these mats help hone your child’s motor development, cause-and-effect skills, and other talents.
Presents for Young Kids
As your child nears five, their preference for toys also changes. That’s why you’ll want to move on to the following gift options:
- Sensory Puzzle Blocks
An easy-grip, soft foam option would be best for children on the autism spectrum, but you should find other acceptable choices outside of this. So long as it’s ASD-appropriate, a puzzle block set should help boost a child’s spatial and logical abilities.
- Textured Mitts
Textured mitts come in a broad range of surface designs that cater to the sensory needs of an autistic child. You have mittens with faux fur, bumps, and sequins, and even ones with a plain, smooth surface. You’ll find these gifts not only help with sensory integration, but they aid with touch exploration and creative play, as well.
- Soft-Saddle Scooters
Really, what sounds more fun than a scooter? Rarely is a child immune to these toys’ charms. Toy manufacturers are now more inclusive than ever with their toy production, and rightfully so. You’ll find many brands offering scooters designed for the needs of the cognitively underdeveloped. You’ll discover their models to have lower, softer saddles and a more secured design. Now, if that doesn’t make a fun and meaningful gift, we don’t know what will.
The Sky’s the Limit
If you do your research, you’ll realize there are no limits to the things that can make your little one happy. The toys presented are merely the tip of the iceberg, and countless other options on the market are as good or even better.
That said, the outcome is almost solely determined by the depth of your personal knowledge of a child, so ponder on that first if applicable. If not, better err on the side of caution and stick to a simple sensory toy or a calming book as a present.