3 Tips to choosing the best gifts for the autistic child

Hello, it’s Dr. Ali, and I am popping in to let you know all about three tips on how to choose a fun gift for the holidays for your autistic child (on the autism spectrum), for your autistic nephew, family member that you are trying to figure out,

If you are thinking… “What do I get them…______ is so picky, or I’m not sure what they’re going to like because I don’t really know much about how to please them?”

Or if they may show interest in little. Or they may not show interest in anything, or you don’t want to feel like a waste of your money?

One of the things that we’re so nervous about with our kids on the spectrum, is being able to choose something that we know that they are going to like. As a communication expert, serving clients for almost 20 years, I always love to get gifts for my children who I see for speech therapy. Not surprisingly, finding the best gifts for them, was always something that my parents would come up to me for. I am sharing my F’s formula with you on choosing the best gifts for a child with autism.

  1. The first tip is to choose a gift that’s going to be fun. Think to yourself, how is it going to be fun? It has to be something that they are interested in. Watch and observe, or find out, what are the things that they like to spend time doing or watching? I know from personal experience, for my au-mazing gift, Zachary loves Thomas. Yes, he’s 11 years old, going to be 12 years old, and he still loves Thomas. When people ask me what to get him besides other cool interests, the first thing I always say, “If you want to make him smile, give him something that’s Thomas related.” It doesn’t have to be a lot of money. It’s just what makes him smile. Now, some of us are concerned. “Oh, they’re 12. They’re 14. They’re 15. I gave them Thomas four or five years in a row.” So? Who cares? That’s what they like, and you as a person, you want to know you’re opening a gift that you like, don’t you? If they love SpongeBob, then give them a SpongeBob toy.
  1. The second tip is a gift that strengthens basic foundational information. Foundational information is educational. You want to choose something. Always have something that is education-related as a gift to give our kids. Why? Because we are the primary source of education. If they don’t see it and receive it from us, then, they do not see the importance in it. Whether they like it, love it, want to see it, don’t want to see it, make sure it’s included.

Another fun and functional way of doing that is if it can be something Thomas related or something that they like related, type of book. Leap Frog has absolutely wonderful educational games for those that are younger. You have board games. Things that they can still find some education basis with it. It doesn’t have to get complicated. Remember, we’re meeting them where they’re at. We’re not expanding them to levels that are unrecognizable, but we’re trying to meet them at their level but still help them to progress to that next level. We want to choose foundational gifts, right? Gifts that has some educational component to it.

  1. The third tip is going to be something functional, or helpful with improving independence in their daily living skills. Daily living skills are things that we do every day that often don’t think about. Daily living skills are things that we do every single day that you don’t think about like brushing our teeth, washing our face, getting dressed, eating, going to sleep, going to play, doing routine activities. Those are all part of daily living skills, right? Some people are saying, “So why get them clothes? Why get them things that they may not have much interest in?” Because it’s a daily living skill item. If you get them a coat, then you can work on putting the coat on, zipping it up, covering it up, going outside when it’s warm. You can speak about the coat being used in the winter. You can speak about the fact that coats keep us warm. There are so many functional communication skills that can be used.

We want to make sure one of those gifts under those trees that’s all beautifully wrapped up is going to be something that’s functional, that they can use every day. That’s your reminder. Guess what? Of course, I had to link this back into communication. Why? Because that’s what you’re constantly asking me for as a communication expert, “How do I get my child with autism to talk more? How do I get them to engage more?” You have to provide the supplies to the demands. The supplies, aka gifts, are things that they can use every single day that you can now include communication lessons, casually with them. Using the 3 F’s (fun, foundation, functional) tips for gifts selections, share what gifts are you getting for the child in your life with “autism” and which “f” do they align with. For more information in communication strategies download the complimentary PDF available on www.dralishagriffith.com.

If you would like to listen to this block, click here.