Great Holiday Gifts for Your Autistic Child

Well, it’s that time of year again. We all hit the malls looking for that perfect gift for our friends and family. For children that are on the autism spectrum, this time of year should be no different!! We need to make sure that just because our children may have developmental issues they too can enjoy a wonderful holiday season. Many therapies involve play as a medium so finding a toy that is fun and therapeutically useful is a double win.

 Great Holiday Gifts for Your Autistic Child

 Great Holiday Gifts for Your Autistic Child

Understand Your Child

Since autism affects every child differently, it’s extremely important to understand how external stimuli affect your child. Many children with ASD can be extremely sensitive to sounds and lights, but this can be in a positive and negative way. One child may find that flashing lights can set off an outburst while another may find it soothing. This is where understanding your child can help you choose the right educational toy. Autism therapy can and should be fun to engage the child as well as creating a comfortable learning environment. To this end, it is important to find an engaging way for your child to develop.

Great Gift Ideas

Choosing the right gift for anyone can be difficult, but for an autistic child this might even be harder. Some parents may not even realize there are toys and games out there that can help their child. Autism knows no religion or faith, so every child can be affected. 

 Great Holiday Gifts for Your Autistic Child

So let’s get started identifying what is available and might be something to put a smile on your little one’s face.

  • Swings: These encourage vestibular stimulation as well as sensory integration. This allows the benefit of therapy in the comfort of your own home. Try the Toddler Swing . It is made of rugged canvas and can handle up to 70 pounds while providing the swinging motion to relax even the toughest child. For older children, the Haleys Joy On The Go I Swing System can be assembled in as little as two minutes with no tools required. It is portable and recommended for children up to the age of eight.
  • Tunnels: Many therapists use tunnels to help develop gross motor skills. This helps children develop their coordination while playing and using their imagination. For instance, the Melissa & Doug Happy Giddy Tunnel is made of durable, colorful materials that can be set up quickly and folded up for easy storage. It’s like crawling through a rainbow colored caterpillar!! One great way to improve gross motor skills is the Fun And Function Rocketship Resistance Play Tunnel . It provides different levels of resistance as the child crawls through and has double handles at the end for a parent or playmate to keep the tunnel open.
  • Weighted Animals: What child doesn’t like stuffed animals? These cute, cuddly creatures can help children with autism. The Weighted Animals wrap around the neck and shoulder area providing calming pressure. It can be put in the microwave or freezer for a warming or cooling effect. Another way to use pressure to remind children to remain still and focused is the Tumble Forms 2 Weighted Critters. Placed in the lap or around the shoulders, it provides proprioceptive input as well as pressure touch.
  • Puzzles: Many children enjoy putting puzzles together. One way to improve cognitive skills might be the Interchangeable Music Puzzle . It allows the user to progressively increase the skill needed and can be used as a reward toy. It can teach spatial relations, form constancy, and mental imagery in a fun setting. One puzzle to help with fine motor skills is the Guidecraft 3D Feel and Find Puzzle. It lets children reach into a bag and find corresponding shapes and tiles to the ones they were dealt.
  • Musical Instruments: Music is a great way for your child not only to have fun but to provide auditory stimulation. By attaching two compatibility switches, the Bongo Drums can provide wonderful auditory stimulation. These are tunable with the provided bongo key and are made of high quality wood. For help with auditory stimulation and the development of social skills, the Band in a Box Musical Set includes a tambourine, symbols, maracas, clacker, tone blocks, and a triangle. It has everything a marching band needs to get out and entertain!! For children who might become over stimulated by external auditory stimuli, the Califone Hearing Safe Hearing Protector Headphone has a noise reduction rating of 37 dB therefore blocking out external stimuli.

Making learning and therapy a fun experience is the key to helping your child overcome the challenges of autism. By knowing what triggers your child’s outbursts, you can find that special holiday gift that puts a smile on their face and can help them assimilate skills they need. On behalf of everybody at HPFY we would like to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season no matter which holiday you celebrate!!

 

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