Saturday, November 16, 2013

Christmas Ideas for Autistic Littles

First, I have a teeny-tiny budget so toys must double for therapy. Next, I rarely pay attention to the advertised age range because that typically means when an item is safe not necessarily the interested age.
"Too many lights cause seizures, loud sounds cause meltdowns, the wrong texture sends heartfelt gifts to the trash."
Last, toys need a switch to turn off sounds and lights.

Most of these items have passed the test of my 2 kids with both autism and sensory processing disorder, ages 4 and 9. My blog is not monetized so these are all my honest opinions. Links should take you to the products so you can look for yourself.

Vtech Go! Go! Train
1. V-Tech Go!Go! Train. I just bought this. It usually runs $50 but is on sale now at Walmart for $40. This is the first train my son took an interest in. It's colorful, chunky, has lots of pieces that are easy to maneuver, and a cute little train they can carry around when it's not in use. It has 15 feet of track and a hand crank to get the train up the hill - awesome for fine motor! The Go! Go! Series has a Race Car set, a Helicopter set, and a Fire Department set too.

Whacky Ball

2. Whacky Ball from Amazon. We got this as a birthday present. This is the first toys my son ever played with right out of the package. It's great for eye-hand coordination, fine motor, cause and effect. There are other versions of this toy that are just as good too.
Ball Popper
3. Ball Popper from Amazon. We've had this for several years and is always a go-to toy.  Lots of teaching opportunities: up, down, colors, numbers.

4. Vehicles with Wheels. Especially for those wheel spinners! Some like big vehicles others like the small Hot Wheels types.

Tangle Therapy
5. Items from Fun and Function. Take the time to look through this website. Toys here double up as therapy like occupational, sensory integration, fine and gross motor, physical therapy, dysgraphia, speech therapy - you name it! They have weighted/compression vests, body socks, tilt seats, etc. too.

Here's another Fun and Function product I've heard excellent reviews about called Tangle Therapy - great for anxious hands.

6. Items from Beyond Play. All the toys here double up as therapy. I especially like the board games (social and learning to take turns) and also the play food items. Play foods and play kitchens provide endless opportunities for both fine motor, speech therapy, and social interaction.

7. Chew toys. Things like chew noodles and charms appropriate for kids with oral sensory needs.

8. Seamless Socks.  So many of our kids refuse to wear socks unless they are without seams.

9. iTunes gift cards. Perfect for all those therapy apps for iPad. Special apps for autism and speech apps can cost hundreds of dollars. An iTunes gift card allows Mom or Dad to download those whenever needed. There is a link provided but many retail stores like Wal-Mart conveniently sell them at the checkout.

Ocean Sounds Seahorse
10. Ocean Sounds Seahorse. We've had this toy since Izaiah was a baby. We only use it at night to help with bedtime. It's a staple here. Plays very comforting music and has two volume settings as well as an off button. It softly lights up and the whole thing shuts down on it's own.

11. Mega-Blocks. Large size Lego-like blocks are often a hit. Easily found at Walmart.

12. Gift Cards to Health Food Stores. Eating gluten/dairy/soy/gmo/artificial color/artificial flavor/sugar/egg/ free or whatever-free is expensive! So are supplements. A gift card is a perfect gift for Mom and Dad.
Ekore Sensory Swing

13.  Sensory swings, I have the one to the right, my kids love it. Trampolines, both indoor minis and the large outdoor kind are fabulous for sensory kiddos. Of course wood jungle gyms for outdoors are desirable but very pricey if your budget is like mine.

14. Another idea is to watch your child and see what he stims with or perseverates over. My son for example, loves to stim with socks.  A great and easily budgetable gift for him would be all the mismatched socks waiting hopelessly for their mates! My real life sock gnome would love them!

15. How about where your child likes to go?  Swimming, the zoo, the park, Chuck E. Cheese?  Gift certificates or passes to their favorite places are fun too.

16. Electronic devices are often a hit. Leap Pad Ultra is a major hit I'm told and iPad is fabulous for speech and therapy apps. X-Box Kinect also provides therapy for motor skills and coordination, indoor exercise and motor skills. 

17. Therapy items such as peanut balls, weighted balls, and medicine balls are all useful too.

18. Under Armour Compression clothing for kids. Great for sensory seeker who need to feel pressed or squeezed.

19. Crocs shoes are popular for sensory kiddos too.

20.  A weighted blanket from Weighted Solutions! Purchase one they have on hand or have one custom made. Lydia makes these lap sizes all the way up to adult sizes.

                                    Remember to keep Christ in Christmas!

Luke2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Annie Eskeldson writes for parents of young autistic parents. You can also check out her series for a Christmas gift too! Just go to

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