Saturday, November 27, 2010
Buying Gifts for Autistic Children
I'll be buying Christmas gifts for several autistic children this year. I'll buy gifts for my son who is 15 and autistic. I will also buy gifts for my dear niece who is 4 and autistic. I will also buy small gifts here and there for children of friends.
Who knew I’d become an expert at buying gifts for autistic children? I never would've guessed that autism would hit so close to home. It's a little different when you buy a Christmas gift for an autistic child in some ways it can be easier.
For example, my son has such an intense interest in jets and Star Wars that it's easy for me to find him gifts. The trick is to get these gifts early before stores run out of things. When my friend buys a gift for her autistic child, she has to start really early because he has an intense interest in bridges.
My son, like many autistic children, is highly visual. Visually interesting gifts are always a big hit in our house. This year I'm going to give him a sand panel. Colored sand smoothly glides down when you flip it over. It's relaxing to look at and will look nice in his room. Also, many of the junior high age neighborhood kids have seen it and confirm that it is “cool”.
For my autistic niece there is a sense of urgency in terms of her gifts. My parents have asked me to help pick out her gifts because we are hoping they will be enjoyable and therapeutic.
Victoria is now four and has been involved in a wonderful early intervention preschool as well as an intensive behavioral program for a couple of years. Her vocabulary is limited, but she is starting to talk. Recently she put four words together. She said, “look da spider look” and motioned for her mom to see the spider on the wall.
Here are the Christmas gifts I've found for Victoria. These would probably be good gifts for autistic children in preschool. Actually, they would be good gifts for any preschooler since they were not developed specifically for autistic children.
Alphie Robot. Alphie comes with tons of cards that you place on his tummy. He asks the child to pick the right color, object, number. He gives immediate praise for correct answers, asks the child to try again if they miss and will provide the correct answer. He makes several happy faces. I think he will be great for expanding vocabulary and creating an interest in faces for
Victoria. Right now she doesn't understand emotions at all so I'm hoping the simple smile and Alphie’s cute eyes will lay the foundation and interest in learning about emotions.
Photo Match-Ups There are lots of memory games to choose from I like this one the best because it has photorealistic pictures with the white background. Memory is a game that works well for visually oriented people so she should enjoy it. The large selections of cards should also help work on expanding her vocabulary. The best way to play this game is to systematically introduce new cards as soon as she learns the vocabulary of the card she is playing with.
Where Is Puppy Listening Lotto should be a good gift to help with auditory processing as well as teach prepositions. Since Victoria is pointing at objects now is probably a good time to start introducing prepositions. Plus the puppy is cute and she likes puppies.
Basic Skills Board I love this board by Melissa and Doug it's great for teaching kids dressing skills. Plus it's fun because when you undress the Bear you find him in his underwear. It's good for helping develop fine motor skills and I hope will encourage Victoria to dress herself.
One month away and I’m proud to say I’m done with my Christmas shopping. Now I will focus on baking, enjoying my family and celebrating the birth of Christ! If you still need to pick up some presents please visit our Autism Shop!