One of the constant struggles of shopping, be it for a holiday, birthday, or other special occasion, is finding the right gift for each person. This can be especially difficult when it comes to selecting gifts for special needs children. Every child is different, so what works for one may not be appropriate for another. For instance, you may not pick out the same thing for a child with autism spectrum disorder as you would for a child with gross motor difficulties.
Finding the perfect gift ideas for kids with special needs can be a little easier if you know where to look or what to look for. Here are some helpful tips:
Fidget toys can provide relief for children with sensory processing disorder, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, and other challenges. They can be wonderful gifts for special needs children because they offer diverse sensory input and can be calming and focusing. Toys can include squishy balls, koosh balls, tangle puzzles, spinners, and more. They give children a way to keep their hands busy with moving parts and different tactile surfaces. Balls and putties can also be good for hand strength as children work on grasp exercises.
A percussion instrument may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re searching for gift ideas for children with special needs, but they can have a lot of benefit. Banging a drum, tapping two sticks together, or shaking a tambourine can promote coordination and also provide sensory feedback. Children with hearing disabilities can feel the vibrations from the instruments instead.
Playing different instruments can be incorporated as part of physical therapy too. Whether practicing balancing, controlled arm movements, core stability, or hand-eye coordination, they can have fun and make music while engaging in therapy. It’s also a wonderful way to promote socialization and engagement with others to repeat patterns, share instruments, or make sounds together.
Find the Most Recommended Stores
Recognizing the challenges that can come along with shopping for gifts for special needs children, some stores and websites offer helpful gift guides that highlight toys that fit different needs and ability levels.
Toys “R” Us Guide for Differently-Abled Kids
In the online guide by are broken down by category such as auditory, fine motor, gross motor, tactile, visual, and even social skills. You can search different toys that fit within these areas and decide what might be best for your child based on their abilities and interests. From promoting developmental skills to managing sensory processing disorders, specific toys can fulfill a variety of needs for children of all ages depending on how they’re used.
Fat Brain Toys Special Needs Resource Center
Fat Brain divides its special needs toys into areas based on diagnosis, such as ADHD, hearing impairment, autism spectrum disorder, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, learning disorders, development delays, sensory integration disorder, and much more. The recommended toys align with a variety of goals and skills children with special needs may be working on. Whether you’re looking for creative activities, building sets, games, outdoor toys, puzzles, or books, Fat Brain has got the perfect gift ideas for kids. And similar to other sites, a lot of toys fit into multiple categories, so they can benefit children with a variety of special needs.
Melissa and Doug
Looking for Christmas gifts for autism spectrum disorders, speech and language development, attention and focus, or other challenges? Try the online toy store from Melissa and Doug. Many of their toys are made of wood, so they are very durable and long-lasting. They can stand up to constant or rough play. Use different filters to find gift ideas for children of different ages and developmental needs.
You know your kids best, so pick gifts you think they would enjoy. You may select some you think would be challenging and others that will spark their creativity or fulfill their sensory needs. Toys can be fun, educational, and therapeutic all in one. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, talk to the team at Therapeutic Movements. We’ll work with you to come up with suggestions based on your child’s interests, abilities, and goals. Plus, we can help you ensure all of your child’s needs are being met at Therapeutic Movements so that they can thrive and build their independence and confidence as they progress.