Special Saturday is an online campaign to raise awareness of children with special needs. Every Saturday a prompt is given to encourage people to write or tweet about something in order to help raise awareness of special needs children. Today’s theme is a festive one and asks for Christmas gift ideas for children with additional needs.
Below are some of the toys and games that have proved popular with my son and daughter who both have autistic spectrum disorders. In no particular order:
Toy cars – my son’s first interest was cars. As he has an ASD, he didn’t play with them in an ordinary way but loved to line them up or play with their wheels. For years he never bored of cars and accumulated a wide range of them. Many people thought he had enough cars and that it was a waste of time buying him any more. The reality is that he could never get enough cars; he saw beyond the function of a toy car and simply enjoyed their colour or design.
Lego – a classic I know but for years my son has enjoyed lego. Starting with duplo he has now grown into lego and particularly enjoys the vehicle themed sets. Fabulous for developing fine motor skills and imagination, there is a wide range to choose from for all ages.
DVDs – my son loves DVDs that feature characters with eyes. When he was younger Thomas the Tank was his favourite then he progressed to Chuggington and now his favourite is Cars 2. This DVD will definitely be in his Christmas stocking this year!
Trampoline – another great present for all of my children has been the trampoline. We bought it for all our children when they were 3, 6 and 9 and for years it was well used. My son uses it less now but I’ve noticed that my aspergers daughter bounces on it when she is stressed, particularly after school. However, she will only go on it if it is free of dirt or leaves!
Nintendo DS – this handheld games console has been a great present for all of my children. Not only is it fun but it helps them to cope with social and sensory difficulties as it provides distraction and engagement. We never go anywhere without it.
Computer games – the computer is a favourite with both of my children now they are that bit older. My son particularly enjoys those simulator games, ie farming simulator and my daughter loves Moshi Monster.
Card collections and stickers – both my children love these. My son is currently into car 2 stickers and my daughter enjoys collecting Moshi Monster cards. (You’ve probably guessed by now that my daughter is besotted by Moshi Monsters – its bound to dominate her Christmas present list.)
Xbox – for his birthday my son got an xbox and he loves it. In fact he loves it so much that it is difficult to get him off it at times.
Bikes/scooters - both my children can get easily fatigued and find walking and running boring and difficult. This is partly due to their low muscle tone (and lack of motivation and interest!) which is connected to their ASDs. My daughter in particular finds cycling and using a scooter a lot easier than walking and running. So whenever we go to the park, the scooters or bikes come too!
Board games - these are great for encouraging social skills and turn taking. There is a massive range of games out there suitable for different ages and developments. One of our favourites is Top Trumps which can focus on a special interest such as dinosaurs, cars or animals. It is also a game that can be shared and played with someone else and is a good way to encourage conversation. Both my children have enjoyed these in the past. They are also inexpensive and great stocking fillers.
So there you have it, my ten ideas for Christmas presents for the child who is towards the higher functioning end of the autism spectrum.
You might also be interested to read my tips on choosing presents for an autisic child.
If you would like to learn more about Special Saturday then you can do so though the following ways:
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/SpecialSaturday
Twitter – follow @Specialsat and use the hashtag #specialsaturday
The Blog – http://specialsaturday.org/
Wendy at the Savette Gazette – http://www.savette.com/category/special-saturday/
This post is day 5 of the nablopomo challenge.