I’ve seen a lot of posts and blogs lately entitled “gift ideas for an autistic child”. As I go on to read them I am bored to tears with the same items again and again and again. A bubble tube, a sensory light, an exercise ball. They all seem to feature in the top ten of any “best presents” feature or blog I can see related to autism.
Granted when we first started to embrace kiddo’s autism I was grateful for those posts. I had no idea what to buy, for up until the age of 2 he had shown very little interest for the typical toys we had showered him with. Except the Toot Toot garage and Fisher Price Animal train who’s songs drove me to distraction on a constant repeat all day… I wanted him to have all the sensory equipment he could possibly need and so the hunt began for bargains (the cost of these items are insane!!) and our house started to fill with endless items that shone, flickered, bounced and spun.
So naturally when Christmas came I was at a loss – these blogs were no help, I already owned everything they were suggesting! But this year I’m a little older and a little wiser. This year we started thinking outside the box.
It was the wonderful Mrs S that came up with the first suggestion. Kiddo has a keen interest in fruits and vegetables. He loves how they look, feel and taste (sometimes). And as a gift this year she kindly took him to a small grocery store where they closed the shop especially for him to browse and shop as he pleased. Incredible. A truly unique gift for my truly unique son.
Another strike of inspiration came from one of Kiddo’s grandparents. His love of shape, space and order lead him to fall in love with some of their Russian dolls. Come Christmas Day he shall have numerous sets, all different in shape and style for him to experiment with.
Now I appreciate that Santa can’t fit a full sized windmill into Kiddo’s stocking (a current obsession), nor can he paint the Nickelodeon logo all over the house in just one night. But we will do our very best to look deep into our son’s eyes and search for what truly interests him. He adores pretending to be a ghost, maybe a specially made ghost fancy dress outfit will make its way in there… that Santa is a pretty crafty guy…
So if you’re stuck for something to buy this year, chances are you are looking in the wrong place. Ignore the adverts, shop shelves and Amazon prime. What does your autistic child truly treasure? A vacuum cleaner? Some stones? You don’t need a top ten gift list to help you. No one knows your child better than you. You got this.
Merry Christmas, and thanks for reading.