Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gift Ideas for Autistic Teenagers

I guess because G is 16 lots of people ask me for gift ideas for autistic teenagers. I do have experience buying gifts for him, but "If you've met one person with autism – you've met one person with autism" Stephen Shore. All teenagers are different and everyone has their unique special interests. So with that disclaimer I'll give you my gift ideas for autistic teenagers.

Special Interests
If the autistic teen you are going to buy a present for has a special interest start there. My son loves aviation and Star Wars, every year we buy him a gift related to these two areas. I always buy a Star Wars calendar and I usually buy it in October because I have my choice then. I've also learned that waiting until the last minute can get me in trouble. So if your autistic teen has a favorite subject be on the look out now for a gift in that area.

Calming Items
Life can be stressful for any teen. There are lots of transitions, complex social interactions and confusing situations teens on the autism spectrum face daily. A wonderful gift for an autistic teen is something that's calming.
  • Vibration toys, pillows or tubes are all very calming. This year I plan to give my son a Vibramat. We can put his bean bag on top of the vibrating mat for a vibrating chair or under his mattress to make it vibrate.
  • Weighted items - weighted vests, lap pads or blankets are more expensive, but can be very soothing. It's always great when a grandparent or family member will give this kind of gift.
Visual Items
Many autistic teenagers are highly visual. Visually interesting items make great gifts. One of my son's favorite items is an Ooze tube. Some more highly visual items that make great gifts include liquid timers, sand panels, disco balls, light up or spinning items.

These are just a few gift suggestions. Do you have a good gift idea for an autistic teen? If so please share it, I'm in the same boat as everyone else and I always appreciate good ideas!

Update National Autism Resources has put together a gift page for autistic teens.