Buying gifts for children with Autism or with Asperger’s Syndrome (a Disability referred to as “being on the spectrum”) may present a unique opportunity to make a difference in the child’s life. However, unlike some types of diffability (disability) where symptoms are fairly similar, children with Austism or Aspergers – and their family environments – are extremely variable. There’s no “average” so there’s no IDEAL gift for every child with Autism or Aspergers. So if you are buying a birthday present or holiday gift for a child with a disability of any type – whether it’s Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), MND, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or Muscular Dystrophy (MD), the very BEST thing you can do before you go gift buying – including online shopping – is to ASK.
But sometimes you want to surprise the parents of a child with special needs – or surprise a child with Autism – and give them something they WEREN’T even aware was available – yet something they are very likely to enjoy.
THIS is where THIS WAY IN TO MUSIC may come in handy for gift buying ideas.
While we still suggest ASKING parents first is the best idea (as they usually have great ideas and a list of DOs and DON’TS), then the second best thing is to be observant and to listen carefully.
- Pay attention to what the child’s interests and capabilities are.
- Listen to what the parents express about their child.
- If the child likes puzzles for example, find out what the child does or doesn’t have but keep the puzzle to their capability – all children who get overwhelmed when they can’t do something readily could become emotional or reactive.
- So, there is no ONE perfect gift for everyone who has an Autistic child or a child with other special needs.
But if you want to surprise them or be innovative this year, consider these top gift ideas as our pick for the best gifts for kids with Autism or Asperger’s.
BEST GIFTS for CHILDREN with AUTISM or Asperger’s Syndrome.
At the top of our list for children on the Autism Spectrum is….
Our #1 Best Gift Idea For children with Autism or families and parents with other special needs (such as Cerebral Palsy, Acquired Brain Injury/ABI, MS or MND or Downs Syndrome is a subscription to the Music Interaction program that the entire family can participate in. It’s more for the PARENT’s to watch and learn, but they’ll then be able to use the lessons in fun, task-less social play situations with their child or children – either at home or in a small group social setting.
- Designed to help parents engage children with autism or other developmental challenges,communication and language delays
- Uses the power of music and innate attraction to rhythm, mimesis, sensory textures of instruments, and sound.
This one is for the parents but for the benefit of the child’s family time.
NOT necessarily music therapy but rather games using music and home-made or inexpensive instruments to empower connection and sustained attention, this program is the perfect gift for families or teachers who care for children with special needs. It also works very well for children with social anxiety or who are feeling insecure about their place in the world after a family split. Suited for all ages from 2 years old to 18 years old (but can be used for diffabled adults as well), the series is downloadable/streamable starting at $19.95 to $29.95 USD/AUD per episode or approximately $99.85 USD/AUD for a yearly series.
Music packs for special needs children and children who are on the Spectrum of Autism are also available along with the series of digitally-streamed music-themed game and lesson episodes.
Gift Ideas For Parents of children with unique needs (special needs or Diffability):
Our #2 Best Gift Idea For children with Autism or families and parents with other special needs (such as Cerebral Palsy, Acquired Brain Injury/ABI, MS or MND or Downs Syndrome is something related to what they are focused on or highly attracted to – even seemingly obsessed by. It is football game stats? Astronomy? Characters from a cartoon series, book or film such as Shrek, Dory or Ninja Warriors?
- Find out who their favourite character is and get them a T Shirt or Poster or Figure/Figurine.
- Look at costumes – always a great idea (but for autism, make sure it’s super soft and ideally natural fabric with no scratchy fabrics, uncomfortable accessories or skin-irritating tags).
- Take a look at what the child is unlikely to already have – you could get a custom colouring book, puzzle, painted coffee mug or drinking cup.
- Or MAKE a special mug with an emblem, photo or other symbol of what the child really likes. This usually goes down very well for children with special needs, especially it it reiterates a preferred identity, super-power or character alignment.
Gift Buying Tips: Best Gifts For parents of Autistic children – recommendations from the team at This Way In To Music.
Chances are you’ve already discovered Tony Attwood’s books about Asperger’s and Autism. Alex Smith considers it the bible of all books for families with children who are on the spectrum – in other words, with Autistic traits, unique socialisation preferences, attention differences and communication diffabilities.
To read more on Tony, click on the image below from his website: http://www.tonyattwood.com.au/
Best Gifts for the child with a Diffability such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy or ABI – continued.
Third on our list of best gifts for children with Autism or ASD (on the spectrum) is:
Best Gifts For parents of children with Autism:
Remember, that great gifts for special needs children really depends on the age and capacities of the child. The more you know the child, the more precise you can make the gift. But DO include the receipt in case the parents decide it’s not quite right for their child or for their child at this time in their development.
Gifts for Parents of Children with Autism or Asbergers or Cerebral Palsy or MND or Multiple Sclerosis
- For parents, consider offering a night out (either alone or with the kids), or offer to accompany them with their child to a museum or gallery (the more help the better, if the child knows you and is comfortable around you)
- If both parents live together, you could offer a night out for each – separately – so that they each get a break (but ideally offer this during a respite time for them, if they have access to occasional respite care or grandparent care of their child/children).
- A gift voucher for a one hour massage would never go astray – just make sure the location is very handy to their office or home!
- The Music Program “This Way In To Music” by Alex Smith (music themed games for skills transfer and positive family social interaction)
Best Gifts for the child with a Diffability such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy or ABI:
- Simple First Words: Let’s Talk. Priddy Books.
- Smart Tablet (sturdy)
- Sound Puzzles (Sound Puzzles available in Australia, ToysRUs-Australia, or Sound Puzzles available in the USA)
- Technology Gadgets
- Legos (available at Target)
You might need to adapt the product to suit the child’s physical abilities or emotional preferences.
Top Tips for Buying Gifts for Children with Autism or On the Spectrum
If you know the child has a favourite “HEROINE” or “HERO,” or favourite colour or shape, definitely incorporate it into your gift buying processes.
- Sometimes simpler gifts are better than complex ones
- Do they collect rocks, comic books, model cars or aeroplanes, stickers or certain figurines? Find out what they DON’T already have.
- Books with facts and statistics, if the child is superbly interested in such ideas, won’t go astray.
- Puzzles, technology and fidgety toys that are NOT frustrating to learn to use are best.
- Avoid games that require a lot of adult attention (intervention) – get something the child can take and make his or her own; or manage with little supervision (other than This Way In To Music, which is an interactive game program the whole family will enjoy – and it can be done in 10 to 20 minute snippets of time!)
- Avoid overly complex products that require assembly unless you KNOW the child has already undertaken something like this in the past.
- For example, model airoplanes or cars or structures that require long attention spans MAY or MAY NOT be such a good idea
- If you’re not sure, ask the parents!
To order the Parent Pack (sampler session and Adapt Pack) for $19.95 (digital) or $49.95 (paper/plus session on USB) OR to order the annual subscription series of 8 sessions delivered digitally throughout the year ($49.95 digitally delivered), send an enquiry form and we’ll send you the purchase details. Or phone +61 421 99 55 22 (Australia) or email us on our contact page. We look forward to helping YOU get your friends the PERFECT gift. Note that for gifts, you’ll want to print out the gift certificate pages on a colour printer.