Ten Gift Ideas for Kids with Autism

It’s that time of year! You know the one. Questions are pouring in from family wondering what to buy your child with autism for Christmas. I always find it to be super stressful. My son does not play with toys. Honestly, he doesn’t play with anything. And it has only been six months since he started even caring or noticing gifts. Prior to that, opening gifts caused him a huge amount of anxiety. Which in turn caused anxiety for the rest of the family. Every holiday involved our family gathered around a Christmas tree while Cooper hid in his bedroom.

Now, trust me, I know it’s all about the kid. And my kid didn’t care about gifts. In reality that is fine. It’s hard on the emotions though. It’s hard to miss your kid as you watch children enjoying the holiday. It’s hard to see sad faces of grandparents and well meaning people who just want to celebrate your child. I get it all.

I used to dread the calls and texts…’What should we buy for Cooper?’ I never know what to say.

I’m excited to say that Cooper is now interested in gifts. He is also excited to sit by our family while we celebrate the holidays. BUT, what do you get for the child that doesn’t like anything. It’s tough. I’ve also had to convince people and myself that it’s not about the amount of gifts, the size, or the dollar amount for Cooper. He is simple and knows no greed. He is happy with one thing that he loves. And it might even be free.

So, what am I buying the kid who is impossible to buy for but now loves the excitement of opening presents?

Photos and More Photos
My kid loves photos. I plan to develop all different sizes of Cooper’s favorites. I will get a variety of wallet sized to poster sized. I also plan to get him a few other photo themed gifts. Maybe coasters or puzzles? He loves them for edging. Or a cup with our picture on it. You can pretty much get your personal photos on any item. I use Walgreens because it’s easy and fast. My other plan this year is to laminate the photos so they last longer. I also plan to laminate his favorite book pages and DVD covers. I might even hop on Google and print off pictures of old time trains and print/laminate those as well. Here is an example of an inexpensive laminator from Amazon.

A Gift Bag with his Favorite Treats
Cooper loves his favorite foods and trinkets…think toothbrushes. Receiving the simplest things make him so happy. I plan to fill a gift bag with Cheetos, BBQ chips, Dum-Dum Suckers, Capri Suns and toothbrushes. He doesn’t care that the items are inexpensive and currently in our pantry. He just likes getting them.

Weighted Vest
I think it’s time to get Cooper a weighted vest. He really is starting to enjoy the deep compression and will opt to wear his life jacket around the house. Let me be clear…he is wearing the life jacket in hopes that we will drop everything and go swimming. He has three types of life jackets that he rotates and all three provide some sort of deep pressure. Click HERE to order the vest that I am ordering. I love Fun and Function and trust their products.

Polaroid Camera
My son loves pictures. He takes them with his iPad and looks at them. He carries them around. I like to say he loves the love right out of them. This year I want to try engaging him even more. I am going to order him a Polaroid Camera from Amazon. Here is an EXAMPLE. It prints the pictures in under a minute! Let’s just say my sweet boy does not have patience. I also chose a cheap model to start with. I’ve been known to spend money on products that I thought were home runs and my kid refused to even look at them.

Snuggle Sheet
I know I talk about this sheet a lot. I just can’t say enough how much it has improved our life and my sanity. The Snuggle Sheet slips over the mattress like a pillowcase. Not only does it provide compression while Cooper sleeps…it also is impossible to rip off! I plan on getting a back up for Cooper’s bed and one for Sawyer’s bed. Click HERE to order.

Sensory Sack
I know I’ve mentioned before that my son isn’t big on sensory toys. He doesn’t have the patience. I’ve tried so many different versions with no success. Well, the Sensory Sack from Fun and Function is a HUGE hit at our house. I plan on ordering a few more so I can have them in different rooms. Cooper often loses his treasures. Click HERE to Order.

Discovery Putty
Cooper typically shows zero interest in Play-doh and Slime. We had an Occupational Therapist introduce him to Discovery Putty. It’s harder and not so slimy and super great for strengthening hands and improving fine motor planning. Cooper has super poor fine motor and this actually keeps his attention. Stretch, mold and pull the putty until you find all the hidden objects–and then hide the pieces all over again! Click HERE to order.

Kindle Fire
Cooper goes through Kindles pretty fast. We refer to our home as the iPad and Kindle graveyard. It’s safe to say my autistic son is hard on devices. Yes, we’ve tried many cases and yes, we try and make sure he doesn’t throw them. BUT…hell hath no fury like an autistic child angry about the loss of wifi or a dead battery. I totally recommend the Kindle Fire through Amazon though. They have an amazing warranty and return policy. We’ve exchanged at least five devices. These sad souls were bought before we knew about the great warranty.

TRAINS and more TRAINS
I will scour Amazon and order a few cheap train movies and posters for Cooper. They are inexpensive and will most likely get destroyed. Cooper will love them to death. These items will bring him so much joy.

A Book for Siblings
Having a sibling on the spectrum brings great joy. It also brings a flurry of emotions, challenges and questions. Written by a seven-year-old boy, “What About Me?” works through the day-to-day struggles and joys of being an autism sibling. This book really helped my son Sawyer understand autism. We read it quite frequently. Click HERE to order now.

Good luck and happy shopping! Remember to get creative! Check out Fun and Function’s Holiday Gift Guide if you need more ideas!


Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Comments

  • Linda Ackerman

    November 27, 2017 at 6:29 pm
    Reply

    Walmart has a great warranty on there tablets also

  • Sylvia Tavares

    November 28, 2017 at 5:55 am
    Reply

    Hi Cooper's mom, just want to say keep up the good work with your child. My son is 23 yrs. and was diagnosed with […] Read MoreHi Cooper's mom, just want to say keep up the good work with your child. My son is 23 yrs. and was diagnosed with Aspergers at age 3. He loved trains and photography. (Currently works in that field). I have an idea to work with Cooper. Make a Vision Board with him . Cut pictures of trains from old magazines and have his paste the out on a board. Discuss the different trains, colors etc. Then he can have a poster. Merry Christmas and have a New Year. Read Less

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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