“Love is the greatest gift that God has given us. It's free.” – Taraji P. Henson
Buying a gift, toy or a gift for a special occasion for a child on the autism spectrum can be a daunting task for their loved ones. As it is, selecting a gift for anyone we love can prove to be a challenge, hoping that the gift is received well. With children on the spectrum, the challenge is more as such gifts need to be providing the right stimulus and not overwhelming or difficult to negotiate. While selecting gifts for your child, it is important to keep the age, developmental ability as well as interests in mind. When browsing a store or an online portal, keep these two questions in mind: Will they enjoy it? Is it socially appropriate? In this blog, we have compiled some gift suggestions which may hit the right notes with your family and your child.
Calming gifts - As children with ASD have issues with certain situations, communication, and common sensory experiences, gifts which calming are always a good idea. These gifts include vibrating items, calming visual items such as liquid timers, or rhythmic moving motion lamps. A calming object is not only fun but can be of great help to the child in anxious situations. Items that provide slow & repeated motions are attractive and calming at the same time. For example, a Moon Light whose colors change slowly with time or a Lamp that expels small balls that resemble lava drops that drift down the side of the volcano-shaped lamp. Weighted items make for great gifts as well. These include weighted blankets and vests that can last for years.
Sensory gifts - Children with ASD find pleasure in sensory toys. They play the role of welcome distractions while traveling or while at home. Sensory toys also double up as objects which provide calmness. It's best to avoid picking up toys that may prove to be overwhelming. Consider a gift that provides a single type of sensory stimulation for example play dough, a musical item, or a light-up item. If the child loves touching objects, then go for gifts that are tactile with varied textures. These are interesting to touch so making for an excellent gifting option, for example, a fidget set (with gel ball, fidget cube, and so on) or a tangle therapy sensory toy which aids motor development.
Cause and effect toys – These special toys make children aware of their ability to impact their environment. They are made to provide instant feedback. As they are entertaining and feature easy repetitive actions, they can turn into an easy turn-taking activity. They are also wonderful for kids who have issues engaging with others socially. These toys are enablers for social interaction. They provide scope for interaction, turn-taking as well as attention all of which lead to social development by default. Sound puzzles and star spinners are some examples of these great gifts