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With one in 70 people with autism, most people know children with autistic, whether they be friends of their children, family members, neighbours – and it can be difficult to know what to buy.
Kathrine Peereboom, is a mother of three autistic boys. She is also the founder of Spectrum Support, one of the country’s leading charities providing autism training, education and awareness-raising for those at the front line of service delivery.
Knowing it can be challenging to buy for people with autism, Katherine has pulled together her top picks.
“There is no doubt that Christmas giving for different neurotypes can be challenging, if not feel near impossible trying to purchase the right gift. What one person thinks will work well as a present can often miss the mark,” explains Katherine.
“We find that presents that deliver a sensory experience are usually more successful than others. These bring hours of joy and entertainment. Presents that involve colours, movement, and sound are ideal as long as they are safe. Musical instruments are also ideal gifts. While the noise may not be ideal for some settings, our boys love playing with their guitar, keyboard and percussion instruments.”
“These suggestions are designed to help people find presents that will meet any budget,” says Kathrine.
“We have purchased these items over the years for our boys with great success. While some items on the list may not be suitable for some, they will definitely help to generate ideas and steer you in the right direction.”
Katherine is set to celebrate Christmas with her three boys.
Christmas gift ideas for an autistic child
1. Kloudsac – Sensory foam filled beanbags. “We have the Mondo and can vouch for its awesomeness.”
2. Sensory Swing – The boys will spend hours just chilling out in this
3. Chewy – To support the healthy development of biting and chewing skills. “Ahhh chewy’s….you are a staple in our home.”
4. Tumfort – “Brilliant weighted animal toys.”
5. Laser Stars Projector™ – “We purchased ours from The Home and Party Shop.”
6. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones – “Either the QC35 or QC700 depending on your budget.
7. YoYa Toys Liquimo – “Liquid Motion Bubbler for all ages.”
9. Musical Instruments – piano, drums, guitar, percussion
10. Lava or bubble lamp – “Ours is one metre tall with changing lights and fake fish from eBay.”
Katherine’s gift suggestions are personal picks based on what her three autistic boys were interested in.
11. Fidget toys – “The Therapy Store has a fantastic range.”
12. Trampoline – “Our mini jumper from Kmart is $39 or you can spend big depending on springs/no springs and a suitable size for your home.”
13. Moving and Fitted bead frames – “A wonderful educational toy. Prices range from $10 to $300. A great resource is Modern Teaching Aids.”
14. Books – There is a wonderful selection at Dymocks covering topics such as, My Feelings Matter, Winston Wallaby, Can’t Stop Bouncing, Puberty and Special Girls or Sexuality and Relationship Education.
15. Weighted blankets.
16. Board games – “Connect 4 is winner here at the moment and it’s a fantastic fine motor activity.”
17. Flash cards – “There is a huge selection for all ages. Maths, alphabet, numbers, shapes, etc”
18. Scooter board.
19. LifeSmart Light Panels – “A sensory delight”
20. Smart Watch.