Shining Abilities recommends the following criteria when selecting a gift for a child with Autism:
• Target the child's interests instead of what may be age appropriate or the current fad gift of the year.
• If you are unsure of the child's interests, ask the parents. Some questions to ask may include: Does the child have any in depth interests? What movie or characters does the child like? What sensory toys does the child prefer to play with? Does the child like toys that light up or make noise? What toys or items does the child like to carry around with them? Are there any items that the child's teacher or therapist recommends?
• Consider the sensory needs of the child. If the child enjoys tactile stimulation, such as touching, rubbing and feeling different textures, you could consider getting them a large, fluffy, animal-shaped pillow or a game that involves feeling textured items and sensory integration, such as “Ruff's House”. If the child enjoys watching items as they fall and often knocks things over, consider a game that involves throwing objects, such as “Happy Giddy Bowling” or “Smart Toss”.
• Think about which skills the child is currently working on learning. Are they working on Speech-Language therapy and expanding their vocabulary? If so, “Visual Books” or “Language Builder Cards” may be good options to consider. Is the child working on developing their social skills? If so, “Emotion Cards” and “My Community” would be good products to consider. Shining Abilities has designed their website based around the different developmental categories, helping the gift giver to easily select items in category that is most relevant to the child.
Lastly, Shining Abilities reminds the gift giver to be creative and think outside of the box compared to the gifts that you might buy for a neurotypical child. Instead, try to learn about the child’s interests to best understand what they would enjoy.
If further help is needed, Shining Abilities provides complementary product consultation to help customers find just the right gifts and toys for the Autistic child in their life. A full listing of their products and other important information on Autism can be found at http://shiningabilities.com.