Whether you are a parent, relative or close friend of a child with special needs, it can be difficult to know exactly what to get them for Christmas.
Bombarded with loud, bright and overwhelming toy adverts on a daily basis, our SEN kids don’t always want the typical ‘mainstream’ gifts that you might want to buy for them.
Knowing what my own daughter enjoys playing with – empty boxes, stickers, sensory items, things to build or stack, I decided to ask the always fabulous parents from the ASD Support Group NI on Facebook what they think their own children would love to receive this Christmas.
While it seems most other Christmas Gift Guides will typically have a handy list from 1 – 10 (or so) of the most sought after items this year, buying for a special needs child isn’t always as simple as that.
I want to start with some of the advice the parents gave me on buying for their children…
- Don’t be afraid to ask parents what their child would really like for Christmas. All of our SEN kids are so different. Often people will gift an age appropriate toy and a lot of the time that isn’t something that our children will actually be able to use.
- Some children with special needs really don’t like surprises. Often it is easier to follow their rules, allow them to tell you exactly what it is they would like (within good reason of course) to avoid unnecessary anxiety, stress and upset at a time of year that is meant to be joyful.
These were some of the gift ideas that were suggested…
- Sensory toys can make a great gift for a SEN child, as odd as this one sounds, a Sensory Body Sock would be something my daughter would love more than she loves chocolate (thats a LOT).
- Fidget toys are fantastic for little & big sensory seekers alike. providing a calm and relaxing experience.
- Building toys like Lego and Duplo are great for exploring hands and an eye for detail.
- Some ASD kids love animals, a LOT. My daughter is one of them. Animal toys are a lovely gift. Playing with animal toys was one of the first things that encouraged my daughter to start talking, so you never know how helpful this gift could be.
- Puzzle games, are also brilliant for creative kids, and can help them learn too
- Practical items like hat, scarf and glove sets can be a really great gift too (check with parent first encase there are sensory issues), I know my own daughter just loves wearing hats.
- Gender neutral clothes for older aspie girls may also be more appreciated than something big, pink and frilly
- Art and craft supplies like the Mister Maker Doodle Drawer Craft kit are fantastic to keeping hands occupied and letting creativity flow.
- A messy, gooey, fun gift for a sensory seeker- try Gelli Baff, it turns your bath water into a jelly-like texture. Even I think I would like that one!
- Lastly, for more sensory toy ideas, have a look on Pinterest. Also, for specifically for sensory and special needs items try sites like Learning Space, Spacekraft and Rompa for loads more ideas.
I hope this helped to give you some gift ideas for a special needs child this Christmas. Remember, not all SEN children are the same, no two are alike and if you just aren’t sure, don’t be afraid to ask!
Skint Momma xx
Skint Momma is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Skint Momma (Amazon.co.uk)