Tuesday, 4 December 2012

4/12 Christmas present ideas for autism

Schleich Animals - awesome collection of high
quality animals which are solid and technically accurate, and will stand up easily.
Alex adores his collection, I just wish Lucie didn't chew them!!
It just occurred to me it is Christmas in three weeks.  Our tree is still hidden deep in the attic, and my list of present buying hasn't even been written, let alone made any headway.  And I was thinking how hard some people are to buy for, and you rack your brain to think of something they may like.  And that's just for a regular person.  But it is even harder to know what to buy someone when they have a disability like autism, where you do not know what may capture their interest, or even be safe and age appropriate.  I was feeling a little sad at Alex's birthday this year, when I realised I was still picking out toys in the baby aisle which I thought he would like.  And if your child is given an inappropriate present that may be for 6+ on the box, but your child has no chance of engaging with, it leaves you with a deep sense of sorrow.  But fear not!  If you are thinking of what you can buy for a child with additional needs, I thought I would share some present ideas that I have found over the years that may work a treat.

Of course I have no connection to any of these companies or a personal interest in the items I recommend, but sharing ideas may give some inspiration.  And please don't take my word for it, each child is different, so please ensure these items would be safe and appropriate to their specific needs.  My criteria tends to be I need something robust that will be thrown, eaten, drooled on and stomped on, so that rules out an oregami swan craft kit :) Also - a note on where to buy....I live on the Internet, as I can never get to the shops, and I don't want to single out one distributor, it may be best to find the item in your search engine, and check out stockists.  Something to watch for  - I find several things available in regular gift and toy shops that are sold elsewhere for much more as soon as they are labelled 'Special Needs', so be savvy, and shop around. I have seen the same toy sold for £2 and £15, just because the latter was sold as an autistic sensory aid.  And of course this is just a taster to get your brain cells juiced up.  But I'd be happy to get any of these under my tree this year :) (BTW - to insert these images like this was a nightmare, and it may mean it goes haywire if you are viewing on a different PC setting to me - but I am tired, and my eyes are red from trying to read HTML, and my brain is straying to thoughts of the lovely Cumbrian sausages I am about to have for tea - so I give up - it is what it is and hope you are wearing glasses!)

So here are some cool presents my kids have loved:

Animatronic Toys - Expensive but great
for older kids.  Our favourite was Bigfoot.  
Race track - we love this Rory one as it is a solid track that stays together even when stood on.  The kids love anything going round and round in repeated circles

Chrome tangle - this is one I bought for an adult,
a grown up version of a great tactile toy.
A regular tangle - I have loads, to distract stressed boys, in school, home, car, just great
I loved this gift - when you correctly pair the right
animal it makes its sound.Solid, reliable and well made.

A Knot Ball - great stocking filler,
and keeps agitated hands busy

A personal favourite, as it works for all the family
Marble Run Extreme. Marble Runs are great
if they wont eat the marbles. They love
the repetitive action, but these more complex versions
are for adult set up, and supervised childs play, but hours of fun!!

Alex would have one of these in every room and the car.
A puffer ball, cheap brilliant, squishy and great!

Love these squish balls that are great for developing fine motor skills and building up hand strength.  Be warned - they can burst if too roughly treated.

For kids who jump, and are active a tactile ball to sit
on is a great selection, also see peanut balls, for
perfect balance and sensory feedback

Weighted blankets are great for kids who like deep
pressure. They must be specially ordered for the childs
weight and size for safety.   I cheated and made mine, but it was an epic sewing job!
Bubble tubes are magical. We got ours for £40, and got toy fish to go inside.  Years of pleasure.

Aquadraw is great for kids who mess
as you are only dealing with water - win win!

Puppets - any, finger puppets, hand puppets or even
signing puppets are a great investment, especially on
car journeys

Books - hardbacks are great as they get a battering.
My favourite are the Scanimation series.
DVD's are a hit, animation mostly,our tops are
Winnie the Pooh, Dr Seuss, Sesame Street
 - oo tonnes of choice!
Feeling rich?!  Then any gadget is a
winner,  but I strongly advise a
heavy duty protection case

Ipad Apps/itunes voucher.Apps open a
world of options up, for fun and learning.
Our best buy is the
Monster at the End of the Book

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