Buying gifts for children can be a difficult job since their interests and needs vary. You never know what they will love or hate. This is same when you are buying gifts for children with special needs. I order to make gift buying for children with autism easier for you, take a look at the following tips.
Interests and Preferences
It is always better to go with someone’s interests or hobbies when buying gifts. Choosing a gift which the child will be interested in will also encourage them to increase certain skills. So, if the child loves animals, then animal themed gifts are always a go. You can also ask a person close to the child of their interests so you can choose the gifts better. It is also important to know what kind of gifts they would dislike. For example, ask if the child is sensitive to sounds. If so, you will have excluded gifts that has alarms/ horns such as fire trucks.
Be Aware of the Triggers
Individuals with autism sometimes display behaviours that can harm themselves or people close to them. In such cases, giving them gifts that would trigger that behaviour would be more harmful. Therefore, hen choosing your gifts, it is always better to be mindful of the triggers the child have. As mentioned above, for someone with sound sensitivity, a fire truck would be a harmful gift to possess.
Similarly, if the child eats non-food items, then giving them gifts that have small objects or parts can be harmful as the child may end up swallowing or choking those parts. So in addition to learning about what they prefer, also try to learn about what can harm them and try to avoid them.
Identify what would be Helpful
Just like gifts that would trigger harmful behaviour, there are also gifts that would help them meet their sensory needs. For example, if the child tends to rock back and forth or fidgeting giving them a swing or rocking gifts such as rocking chairs would be beneficial. These kinds of gifts are also known to be self-stimulating. Some other gifts that fall into this category are sorting toys, speech therapy toys and interactive games that would encourage kids to work together and work on their social skills.
Interactive toys have a purpose other than helping the child develop their social skills. Especially in the case of children with autism, social deficit is a defining characteristic. So by giving them interactive gifts, they will not only improve their social skills. But, will also help them with social anxiety. Encouraging interaction using toys is a great way to ease the child into a social interaction. These gifts will naturally encourage them towards playing with other children rather than forced communication.
While choosing gifts for children includes looking into several factors such as age, preferences and interests, for children with special needs, there are some special factors that you need to look into. Remembering these will help you to choose gifts that are stimulating and helpful for the children.
Image Credit: Bady Gifts