10 Christmas Gift Ideas For Children with Special Needs

James Hunt by James Hunt Additional Needs

James Hunt

James Hunt

Dad to two amazing boys with autism, award winning blogger, podcast host, sharing stories about our lives

There’s under 3 weeks to go until Christmas, and if you’re anything like me, you’re starting to panic about what to get your kids for presents this year.

I have two boys, Jude (10) and Tommy (7) and I always thought Christmas would be the most magical time of the year.

But for them Christmas is quite different.

You see their autism, and global development delay has meant that both boys have no real understanding of what this time of year means.

For them Christmas is just another day, only full of disruptions to the usual routine, with more people and flashing lights.

When it comes to presents there’s never been a list to Santa, and, especially in the early years, most toys bought for them have gone unused.

Each year it can be a bit of a challenge knowing what to get them, and with family and friends all asking what to buy them as well.

It can be easy to run out of ideas.

So, here’s a few ideas that might help you or your family, either presents I’ve bought in the past, or ones that I’m hoping will be a success this year

1. Sensory Basket

For my son Jude he doesn’t really have the motivation/motor skills for opening presents, so for the last few years I’ve made him a sensory basket and given it to him unwrapped.

This will have a few different sensory toys in that light up or have different textures to explore.

Some ribbons to flap, balls to throw, and toys to squeeze

2. Mini trampoline

This has always been a big hit in my house, an activity both boys love.

It gives them the sensory feedback they crave from bouncing, and also burns off some of their endless energy.

It also means they get to bounce all year round!

3. Body sock

I tried one of these recently whilst on a course, and it’s something both boys use at school.

Made from lycra, once inside and you press against it, it provides some really nice deep pressure that many of our kids crave.

I can see this being a fun game, and also a tool to help our kids when they need to regulate their senses.

4. Bubble tub

A favourite in sensory rooms all over the world, and great for kids of all ages.

The flashing lights and movement of the bubbles can have a real soothing effect, perfect for a bedroom to create a calm place for our kids to relax in.

5. Projector Lamp/Nightlight

An alternative to the bubble tube, they project a light show onto your ceiling or wall, and can also play music too.

With lots of different settings, they can help create a place of calm, and are easy to take with you when visiting family across the holidays!

6. Indoor swing

We’ve had an indoor swing for about 5 years now, and it’s been one of the best purchases I’ve ever made.

The almost cocooned feeling it can create combined with the movement of being swung back and forth or side to side, is a great sensory activity.

It’s also a great place to encourage interaction between you and your child too as there’s so many games you can play with them whilst they’re in there.

7. Chewable jewellery/toys

Many of our children love to chew on or mouth toys or different items.

The oral sensation they get can be calming and help them relax.

It can also be a worry though as often it might be with items that are dangerous or inappropriate.

These days there’s so many fun alternatives out there, with safe, chewable toys, or even jewellery such as necklaces or bangles that can be easily accessed and more discrete.

8. Sensory bottles

For the more creative among you, this is the perfect home-made gift.

Using a combination of an extra strong bottle, water, glue, glitter, and whatever other fun stuff you want to include, you can make a great present.

Google ‘sensory bottles’ for some inspiration, there’s so many cool ones you can make.

And if your kids aren’t into them, I’m sure they’ll help you calm after some of the stressful moments we go through.

9. iPad/Tablet case

If your family is anything like mine then the iPad is an essential piece of kit that you can’t live without, and that gets a lot of use over the holidays.

So the last thing you need this Christmas is for it to be dropped and broken.

Invest in an extra-strong case.

Take away any chance of that one drop ruining your holidays (and costing you a fortune to replace!)

10. Wireless Headphones

Whilst you’re at it, if a tablet is so essential in your house, invest in a pair of wireless headphones too.

We’ve all listened to Baby Shark, or some other random YouTube video 6 million times this year, well hopefully a pair of headphones will be a gift that both you and your child can enjoy!

I hope some of these ideas help the stress of finding the right presents a little bit easier this year.

Merry Christmas everyone!

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