It’s Christmas Time: But Think Twice before Buying That Toy for an Autistic Child

Buying toys for children on the autism spectrum has its own set of challenges. For example, because kids with autism are more likely to have mouthing behaviours, certain toys may or may not be appropriate.

Considering the fact that a child’s best friend is first his or her toys, several toys have been introduced in the market to help the autistic children grow closer to others. Such toys are made with extreme care, remembering the importance of developing the minds of children suffering from this disorder. Fortunately, branded toy companies have realized the importance of developing the minds of challenged children and are beginning to offer better choices. Autism Speaks has worked with Toys R Us to identify a collection of toys for “differently abled” children.  They have even identified those toys that would be useful for children on the autism spectrum. Discovery Toys together with the Princeton Child Development Institute has created a list of products appropriate for children with autism.

There isn’t a little boy or girl for that matter that doesn’t love Thomas the Tank Engine and autistic children are no exception. So much so that this will be a welcomed gift.  In 2001, The National Autistic Society if Great Britain conducted a study the strong bond between autistic children and Thomas and Friends . You can find their results here.

When Getting Ready To Buy Here are some Things to Consider:

1) Be aware of the sensory needs of the child. Each child is different but autistic kids tend to have some issues with Auditory, Creativity, Fine Motor, Gross Motor, Language, Self-Esteem, Social Skills, Tactile, Thinking and Visual. So review the toy keeping in mind the unique challenges and gifts of the child for whom you are buying.

2) Make sure instructions are simple and limited.

3) Find out what the child’s interests are. This is far more important than age specific or the top selling items being advertized.

4) Consider role playing toys have been introduced in the market to assist in social interactions. A research states that such toys have a great impact on their minds as they start understanding and realizing that there is another world outside their closed rooms, with real people that respond and react to actions;

Shining Abilities provides fun and educational toys for autistic children and have just issued a press release that discusses some of these criteria further.