Do you have a child with special needs on your holiday list? Sometimes off the shelf gifts just aren’t quite designed for inclusion. Don’t despair! Our holiday helpers at Abilitations have been busy preparing lists and checking them twice! We searched our full assortment to find the best solutions that are budget friendly at $5, $20, $50 and $75 options. From our fidget and oral motor tool classics like the Tangle Jr. and Chewlery to our newest addition the Twiddle series you are sure to find that just right gift for that special someone that lights up your life.
Here are some other considerations when choosing a gift for a child with special needs:
How will the toy be accessed?
For example battery operated plush animals are cute but require isolated finger pinch and strength to turn on the switch. We carry toys that have been modified to allow switch access like this Venture Puppy paired with a Gumball Switch.
Is it multi-sensory?
Many standard toys depend on good vision or auditory senses (seeing and hearing). Children with special needs often need and/or would benefit from additional input in the form of vestibular (movement), proprioceptive (deep touch pressure) tactile (touch) or olfactory (smell input). Here are a few of our sensory favorites:
Visual Input: The Finger Light Balls have just a bit of extra float time when tossed so allow practice with slow visual tracking skills. And they are so lightweight that they will bounce off any body part to stay in play so don’t require precise eye hand coordination.
Auditory Input: Wiggly Giggly Balls feature finger holds for easy grip and emits a wacky sound with motion.
Vestibular/Proprioceptive: SqUoosh Chair provides deep pressure squeeze to help provide spatial boundary definition and it rocks gently for calming!
Tactile: The Image Captor is made of chromed pins that provide a cool sensory feel to help touch sensitive hands encourage exploration.
Where will the toy be used?
Children with special needs often benefit from a transition tool to ease the stress/anxiety during car rides, sitting at the pediatrician’s office etc. where larger cumbersome toys or small parts (that could get lost!) are not an option. GumFun is a portable fidget that can help with visual sequencing while building fine motor pinch strength. Lightweight and fun to use, no one but you has to know that it’s a handy tool to ease transitions!
See the Top Ten Tips for Selecting Toys for Children with Disabilities from the National Lekotek Center for more recommendations and be sure to visit our website for more unique gift ideas.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Abilitations!