Gifts for kids with special needs on your list
Choosing gifts for kids with special needs doesn’t have to be hard work. With 1 in 70ish kids diagnosed on the autism spectrum and thousands and thousands more with other intellectual disabilities, chances are you have someone with special needs on your list. People ask me the same thing every year. Any thoughts on what I should put on my child’s holiday list this year? Or what should I buy for my niece, nephew, grandchild with special needs? Here’s my advice. Kids with special needs don’t need special toys. They just need the right toys for where their skills and interests lie.
Here’s a little list of things that have caught my eye for little A and why I like them.
The first find on my list is the new Charley the Chameleon from cloud b. Sleep is a big issue for many kids, but kids with Williams Syndrome and many, many other syndromes have sleep challenges long after their peers have outgrown them. Charley is a soft fuzzy friend with big eyes and a broad smile. He lights up to make the room less scary, and plays soothing tunes. He might remind you of the Sleep Sheep, also made by cloud b. I love this guy because he doesn’t look like a ‘baby’ toy, even though he is intended for tiny tykes. He’s big enough to be really huggable. And, while he’s not going to take her sleep challenge away overnight (excuse the pun), he may be just enough comfort to reduce the number of times she needs us to comfort her in the night.
Choice two is related to choice one in that this one is also a soothing toy. But Blue Bear and Grey Owl are on-the-go options for kids who need soothing while out of the house. Little A is long past the stroller snoozes but when she was there, she was easily disturbed by loud noises and sudden sounds and unexpected bumps. Once she was upset, it was very hard for her to self regulate and return to a calm state. Even now, tears from a little bump can last an hour or more.
Having a routine where she can have the same calming object to help de-escalate does wonders for our days. I wish we had one of these a few years ago – we could have started a routine that would come in very handy how. Consider these for all the cute babies on your list, and young kids with exceptional needs who might be at risk of feeing overwhelmed by the world.
We have a pet at home. And as much as A loves Sir Squeaks-A-Lot, I’m not sure she quite understands that he’s our pet, and we care for him and that when she gets bigger, some of that responsibility will fall to her. The Care for Me Learning Carrier is like a baby doll and carriage, except for pets. The interactive carrier comes with a most adorable little puppy stuffy and accessories to help a child grasp the notion of feeding and grooming a pet. It’s a great ‘on the go’ toy and it uses colourful light-up buttons to help a child learn about shapes, pet care and more.
We have a number of other VTech learning toys and they never disappoint. The age range for this toy is 9-36 months but I’ve stopped looking at that. It’s the perfect stage for where A is at, and she is still learning many of these fundamentals. Oh, and did I mention just how adorable the plush puppy is?
A is still a little young for this one, but I think it will be amazing for her in a year or two. I know countless other kids with various needs that would just adore this camera. There are a few great reasons why I think this is a great choice. First, for kids with language challenges, a picture is worth a thousand words. Giving kids ways to share the way they see the world is priceless. Second, this toy gives kids who are differently abled when it comes to mobility a way to share how they experience the world. Lastly, kids who tend to fixate on things will enjoy filming what they love, and watching the movies back over and over again.
The VTech DigiArt Creative Easel is last on this list because it my first choice for A this year. She’s in JK this year, but her letter and number recognition, along with her tracing and drawing skills could use some work.
This 2 in one easel lets kids play with both the white board side and the chalk board side as both an easel and a work table. It lets kids learn to draw shapes, letters and numbers with step-by- step instructions by following the lights using the magic pen. Kids can also draw whatever they want. It’s very cute, easy to transition from one configuration to the other and it’s the perfect balance between things she needs to learn and the kind of regular kids stuff her friends do. Perfect.
Don’t forget mom
Oh, and one more thing. If you have a mom of a child with special needs on your list, check out Tile Mate. Because, well, when you’re a parent of a kid with exceptional needs, you know about 500 things about your child’s development and medical history, but you have no idea where your keys or your phone are. You just attach to Tile Mate to your keys and you can use the Tile app to track their where abouts. You can also track your phone, even when it’s in silent more. #bestgiftever
Disclosure: I selected and was provided the product to review for this post, but all opinions and views expressed are my own.