Black Friday is right around the corner. Shopping for loved ones during the holiday season can be challenging. If your loved one has a disability this task can be brain scrambling! Shopping for holiday gifts for children with special needs does not have to be a hassle.
This is actually part one of a three part series, just in time for the approaching Black Friday. Speaking of Black Friday, you can find me at home with a cup of hot chocolate (or beer) and a good movie! I am more of a Cyber Monday kind of guy! In my next two post I will offer suggestions for gift giving for adults with disabilities and also caregivers.
I loved my cash register!
Gift Tips for Children With Special Needs
Skill Development– Ideal toys are those that are fun but also those that promote a skill such as motor skills, language skills, social skills, etc. Try to find toys that are challenging, but not frustrating. Additionally, try to find toys that are currently popular as well. Kids with disabilities want to be like “any other kid”.
Adjustable- If buying toys for a child with a physical disability, be aware of how adjustable the toy is. Can the toy fit on a wheelchair tray? Can it be manipulated while lying down?
Social Interaction- Children with special needs can find social interactions very difficult, especially children with autism. Toys which encourage social interaction are ideal. Play-Doh and Puzzles are great examples of gifts that can be played with solo or with a playmate.
Sensory Development- Many children with special needs have sensory issues. Toys that promote development of the senses would be excellent gifts. A mini trampoline, musical instruments or a textured rattle are great sensory toy examples.
Emotional Development- Toys that promote emotional development also help with self confidence, verbal/non verbal language skills and release of emotions. Hape Eggspressions Wooden Learning Toy, Kimochis and American Girl Doll (Special Needs Line) are excellent examples.
Space- There are many excellent toys for children with special needs, but one thing to consider before buying a large item is space. Many special needs homes are filled with specialized equipment and space is limited.
Chronological Age vs Developmental Level- Developmental levels need to be considered when buying for kids with special needs. If a child is 10 years old, but has the developmental age of 3, toys for a 10 year old may not only not be appropriate. In fact, they may be unsafe.
Safety- Safety should be a factor when buying any child a toy, but extra consideration needs to be made for children with special needs.
Financial Considerations- Many special needs families struggle financially. Financial difficulties can limit important family activities. Gift certificiates to an accessible theater, restaurant, arcade, bowling alley, etc. make excellent gifts for the entire family. When selecting a gift certificate, be sure to consider accessibility.
Clothing- When selecting clothing, try to find clothing that will promote independence while maintaining a sense of fashion. If the disability is physical and severe, keep the caregiver in mind.
Not everyone is a fan of Santa!
Toys R Us has a webpage dedicated to toy ideas for differently-abled children. Filters allow you to find the perfect toy.
Fun and Function has a website which allows you to input age, diagnosis, budget and helps with into a product finder. It is a way to find fun and therapeutic toys.
Target– Target recently released a line of adaptive clothing for kids!
Amazon- Amazon is a wonderful resource for toys, adaptive clothing, and gift cards. If you are a Prime member, shipping is free!
Special Needs Gifts– This website allows you to filter age, disability and developmental skills to select gifts.
Fat Brain Toys– This website not only provides filters for age groups and disabilities, it also provides playtime tips.
Children with Special Needs– This website is a great resource for adaptive clothing sites.