Family Magazine

Wait… Before You Buy THAT Christmas Gift for An Autistic Child

By Sillymummy @silly_mummy

Even if this is not your first time buying gifts for a child who’s on the autism spectrum, I encourage you to pause and think a little harder about what you’re about to purchase. Many parents are reluctant to voice their opinion to the gift giver when a gift isn’t suitable. Trust me, I know. I’ve been receiving gifts for two years now since my son was diagnosed. Most of the gifts are chucked aside after only one play!

Yes, finding and buying gifts already has its own challenges and the child having special needs will add much more to the checklist. It’s not easy, but if you care about the child it’s best to make the extra effort.

Here are my top considerations for buying gifts for autistic children, bearing in mind that my son is now almost 6 years old and is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. So each child is different, but I’m offering a ‘basic’ guide.

1/ Ask the parents first. Listen to their answers. Ask them for recommendations or whether they prefer a gift card. Who knows, they probably need other things more than they do toys. But if you insist on buying something…

2/ Many children with autism don’t understand how to use the gift you have in mind.

3/ Be sure to buy safe items. It’s common that even the older children on the spectrum like to put object in their mouths.

4/ Some children have sensory needs because they have issues with  Auditory, Visual, Creativity,  Language, Tactile, Social skills, Self-Esteem, Fine Motor, Gross Motor, and Thinking.

5/ Consider buying from special needs shops. Their products are designed with a lot more care in order to help the children grow and develop their skills.

6/ Choose gifts that would help develop their minds. Especially if you have been told that the child likes a certain topic or game more than others. Buy what they are into, not what you think is cool.

7/ Check whether the toys come with clear instructions that at least the parents can understand.

8/ Look for toys and games that can be used in role playing. Be careful with costumes – that they’re not scary, offensive or itchy!

9/ Take them shopping, if you can. Let them choose what they like.

10/ Give the receipt with the gift. If you feel embarrassed, just slip the receipt into the box. If the gift isn’t appropriate, then the parents can exchange it. Best of all, why not buy two gifts: a small one and a voucher?

If you would advise others on buying gifts for children on the spectrum, what would you say?

Original image by FutUndBeidl under a CC license

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