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Last Minute Gift Ideas for Children with Autism

By December 22, 2007

Kathy Knoll, of FAQAutism.com, sends along these last minute gift ideas for kiddos on the autism spectrum. Her ideas come from personal experience; feel free to share your own!
  • MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION. This youngster was somewhat amazed that a magazine with his name on it showed up every month in the mailbox. Because he was likely to tear up the magazine, his sister put the pages in plastic page protectors in a loose leaf notebook. This youngster loved Car and Driver Magazine and Zoo Books. He is now a young adult and he still gets magazine subscriptions every year for Christmas.
  • PERSONALIZED TRIP. Even if our youngsters don't appear to notice other people, the most valuable gift we can give them is time. So grandparents or siblings can give a youngster a coupon for an afternoon at the zoo or a fishing expedition or a tour of the local fire station. The box on Christmas morning could contain a brochure from the zoo and plastic zoo animals or it could contain a fishing lure or a fire hat.
  • THERAPY TOYS. Check with your youngster's music therapist about appropriate musical gifts or as his physical therapist or occupational therapist about textured balls, sturdy toys that light up, or other sensory toys that are safe and fun.
  • PERSONAL RECLINER. One teenager always liked sitting in my husband's rocking recliner when he came to my home for music therapy. So his parents moved some stuff out of his room at home and purchased him his own recliner. Over the years, he has worn out that recliner and wants another one this Christmas. Another youngster enjoyed getting her own desk so she could organize all her books and folders and toys in all the drawers.
  • NESTING OBJECTS. Nearly every person I've known with autism loves the nesting dolls that I have in my music room.
  • VELCRO. Nearly all my friends with autism love Velcro. Scout around for anything that has Velcro books, toys, small camping accessory bags.
  • SHAKE FLASHLIGHT. The new flashlights that shake for power rather than using batteries are popular with my friends with autism.
On a personal note, I can vouch for a few of these items. The shake flashlight was a great hit, especially since Tommy tends to forget little things like turning OFF the flashlight before going to sleep. Ends the problem of replacing batteries, and provide good motivation for skills like shaking and pushing a switch (both of which were tough before the flashlight came along). Magazines have also been a good choice for us: Tom loves any with great pictures of animals - a favorite interest. Last but not least, we too have had good luck with nesting boxes... and for folks interested in therapeutic play: nesting boxes also make terrific train sheds!

Any more last minute ideas? Let us know!

December 25, 2007 at 10:51 pm
(1) Beth says:

What a great post! I moderate the autism blog for Easter Seals: http://www.autism.easterseals.com and published a post last week about this very subject, wish I had read yours first, I DEFINITELY would have referred our readers to your very thoughtful post. Hope you had a Merry Christmas, you can read my post about shopping at:
http://autism.easterseals.com/?p=176a I wish I had read it before

January 1, 2008 at 12:22 am
(2) suzy says:

How about a time machine so they can go back in time and not have their precious little lives ruined by vaccines!

February 27, 2008 at 2:45 pm
(3) patti walling says:

I have a therapeutic foster child 6yr. old who is diagnosis with austism, bio polar, develop delay, non verbal etc. My issue is with the teacher her way of language and billy bruising, thumb marks, injuries and abuse. I’m trying to move to claremore, ok to get him out of this school but I’m on section 8 and have to have a 2 bedroom and we have pets we love the country but need help to find a safe place fence yard. we need help.

February 25, 2010 at 3:26 pm
(4) Barb says:

How about vaccines are not the problem!

March 5, 2010 at 5:13 pm
(5) Barb is a bewb says:

Vaccines ARE the problem in MANY cases….ya bewb

November 29, 2010 at 11:21 am
(6) Mom of Child with AUTISM says:

yes, vaccines MAY play a very SMALL part, but I believe that at least 60% is purely GENETIC. My son has autism, his father; my husband, has Asperger’s, as well as his father….. so, no one is a bewb… its all still a mystery…. no room for name calling on this subject EVER!!!

December 17, 2010 at 12:31 am
(7) stop the blame says:

seriously… vaccines have NOTHING to do with autism! whatever studies you’re willing to hang your hat on there are at least twice as many that will negate them. genetics… pure and simple. autism is a TRAIT not a state and can’t be developed, not contaegious, no cure and guaranteed no cooties! I am a rare HF female with sensory integ. dys. (SID) who has 2 sons with HF, only one with SID, and a daughter without. Doesn’t really matter WHERE or even WHY just know that there is no room for blame, only awareness and acceptance!

December 22, 2010 at 12:24 pm
(8) michelle says:

not sure what caused it but i have 3 boys and my middle son is austic and the oldest is fine and the youngest is fine, my middle son was on a Steriod for 6 wks and after that wasn’t the same he never had his first year needle.

December 22, 2010 at 1:34 pm
(9) Leslie says:

I am so sick & tired of the vaccine debate amongst parents. Newsflash: just because *your* child didn’t change after the shots, doesn’t mean mine didn’t! And vice-versa! Can we please start respecting what other parents have experienced, and realize that just because it didn’t happen to us, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen!!!!

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