Searching for Christmas gifts each year is stressful – at least for me, it is. It's hard to figure out what to get each person on your list something you know they will love and appreciate. If you have a child with special needs on your gift list this year, figuring out what to get them can be just as frustrating, if not more so. Especially if they are not able to communicate their wants or what interests to you.
5 Tips for Buying Gifts for Children with Special Needs
If the child with special needs on your list is not able to communicate their wants or needs because of their condition, the first 3 tips here can be extremely helpful. Of course, if the child is able to tell you what they want, that makes your gift buying much easier.
1. Ask about what types of sensory input to avoid
Many children with special needs have different textures, noises or other items they cannot tolerate due to sensory processing problems. The first thing you would want to do is ask their parent or guardian some of the following questions.
- Do they dislike certain textures such as things that are soft, hard, tight fitting, etc (especially in regards to clothing – sticking with tag-less clothes is always a safe bet as these irritate many children)
- Are they afraid of loud noises? (This may rule out toys with obnoxious sounds or movements)
- Do fast or spinning movements bother them?
2. Ask about what types of sensory input they enjoy
On the flip side, some children may enjoy toys with a lot of movement, flashy, or loud noises. They may enjoy things that spin, flip, or items they can jump on. They might like tighter fitted clothing or softer textures. Be sure to ask what types of things they DO enjoy.
3. Stick to hands-on toys or toys that give real-life experiences
If you can go the route of real, wooden toys, these are so much better than plastic. Plastic toys do not provide much sensory input at all. Wood, metal, tin, etc. provide so much more input for ANY child, but especially those with sensory processing difficulties.
Again, this goes back to the first two questions, some children may not like the sensation of wood or metal. Just keep this in mind when asking about what toys to gets.
4. Does the child have a special hobby or interest they always enjoy?
Many children will have a special interest or hobby that they are especially interested in. It could include trains, dinosaurs, animals, building or engineering type activities, drawing, space, or science type themes. Of course, they may already have a lot of these types of toys, so just make sure to find out what they already have so you can find something different to add to their collection.
5. Are there any items that they need for day to daycare or coping/sensory needs?
Some great stocking stuffer ideas could be sensory fidgets, water bottles, or a sensory chew necklace. Other items could include weighted backpacks, earphones or headphones for noisy areas, a mini trampoline to help calm, large pillows for their sensory calm down area etc.
Many families with special needs children are already spending so much money on the items they need for day to day life. There are doctor's visits, special therapies, items they may need to function at home etc. Being able to help provide an item that will help improve a child's quality of life will not only benefit that child but their family as well.
Need more resources like this one? Check out the resources below.
You May Also Like:
- Gift Guide for Kids Who Need to Fidget
- Sensory Tool Gift Guide for Kids of All Ages
- The Ultimate Gift Guide for Children with Special Needs
- DIY Fidget Toolkit for Wiggly Kids