Children with ASD and shopping for the holidays

As the holiday season approaches and families begin searching for gifts for loved ones, many families with children with autism wonder what they should purchase for their special needs children.

Caring family and friends may also ask what they can offer your child for the holidays. Last year we ran an article which listed some criteria to consider. The best gifts are fun and educational as families with children with autism know how important it is to take advantage of every learning opportunity to improve their children’s skills.

Appropriate and helpful holiday gifts for children on the autism spectrum will vary from one child to another depending on their interests and skill level.

The more individualized the present, the better. Choosing items that are challenging and fun and fit in with the child’s therapy program is recommended. Children with autism can be sensitive to sensory overload, therefore, is better to avoid toys with very bright lights and loud noises that may overly stimulate the  child rather than help teach him new skills.

Children with autism tend to struggle with functional communication and social interaction, so any toys and activities that help the child improve these skills are highly recommended.

Some families prefer to ask for monetary gifts to put into a savings fund for the child in order to help cover the high expenses associated with having a child on the autism spectrum.

One grandmother who wishes to remain anonymous shared her holiday gift plans for her grandson on the autism spectrum with Autism Daily Newscast.

« I always ask my grandson’s therapists for recommendations when I am choosing a gift. They spend so much time with him and understand his educational needs really well. They typically recommend toys that are soothing rather than overly stimulating and that help promote the skills they are working on in their sessions. Right now my grandson is working on improving pretend play skills and so I will be buying him a pretend kitchen and food set this holiday season. »