When it comes to the holidays, buying presents is stressful enough. But if you’re buying gifts for kids with Autism, there are sensory challenges to work through in order to find something both meaningful and useful.
Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t more difficult to shop for someone with Autism. But if you’re not familiar with the needs of that individual, this will be a bit of a challenge. The most important thing is to learn about the child to find something that will be a unique and smart fit for him or her.
Whether you’re stuck or just want to find something that feels right, here are a few sensory-friendly gifts to get you started.
1. Therapy Putty
Therapy putty was designed with OT (Occupational Therapy) in mind. It’s meant to help with gripping, hand movement, large and small motor, and stress-relief.
While putty doesn’t work for every child with Autism, it may be preferred by individuals that like bright colors or the feeling in their hands.
2. Indoor Therapy Swing
Therapeutic swings offer comfort and support to children, especially those with sensory needs. This swing is made with a smooth and lightweight fabric that helps block out noise, light, and anything else that may be overstimulating (without being too thick or uncomfortable). It also holds up to 150 pounds in weight, making it a great gift for a variety of ages.
3. Mess-Free Play Sand
When it comes to a sensory-friendly, yet mess-free activity, kinetic sand is a must. Great for children who have visual or tactile sensation needs, this is all the fun without all the chaos.
4. Calming Cushion
These ‘calming cushions,’ called Senseez, are best for children who have difficulties sitting for longer periods of time or are easily distracted. These pillows are cordless and battery-powered to give gentle vibrations to the child to offer comfort and stability.
Each pillow is made with a different vinyl material (for easy cleaning) and is lightweight, but tactically interesting for kids with specific sensory needs.
5. Compression Vest
Although this gift might not be as ‘fun’ as a toy, a weighted vest can offer comfort in the form of a hug – all day long. This vest is designed to offer pressure to different parts of the child’s body, giving both support and security.
This is an excellent toy for children of all ages, especially kids that are into bright colors and building. It works with creativity and design; it’s also beneficial for small motor practice and out-of-the-box thinking.
Featured Image Credit: TONL