Authored by Nickie Fleming in Child and Teen Health
Published on 03-02-2009
Presents are given for many occasions: birthdays, Christmas, whatever. And very often one receives gifts that are not quite what you wanted or expected. If that is the case for most of the ‘normal’ people, how must it be when you are having autism?
Choosing presents is always a bit difficult. Choosing presents for an autistic child even more so. How can you find a present that won’t disturb this child, or is hazardous and/or annoying?
The first thing you must realize is that autism is a disorder in which development can be very uneven. Autistics are slow in developing a sense of danger. So be careful when buying toys. A child that is, for instance, adept at using electronics can still chew at the cables and get electrocuted. According to figures, toys are involved in lots of accidents with children, but there are still no figures about those accidents with autistic children.
Also keep from buying clothes or loud toys. You can never tell how an autistic child will respond to the textures or the noises associated with the toy. Never buy things that can break to pieces if you drop them (this would already be a good tip when buying for all children).
Choosing a book here may be the better option – but then what kind of book?
First think about the material the book is made from. Some autistic children love to tear paper, for whatever reason (the sound of the ripping, the sight of it fluttering). So a book with paper pages won’t live long.
You can try and buy them books made out of cardboard. This material is a lot harder to shred (but can be done anyway). If your child is likely to chew on things, you can best buy him or her a pliable plastic book, like the ones you buy for the bathroom; Unfortunately, the choice of these books is quite limited.
When choosing a type of book, you may ask the parents of the child what he or she loves. If the child like to sit and hear stories, then you can find a book about children and animals, with lots of pictures in it. Some autistics may be highly intelligent, so you’ll need something that will stimulate their mind.
There also exist books that are created to help the autistic child with socialization and language skills. They can help them to understand their world a bit better, along with understanding how others feel.
A few examples of books autistic children will love are:
- Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
- Wish I Had A Pirate Suit by Pamela Allen
- Spot’s Touch and Feel Day by Eric Hill
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Are You My Mother? By PD Eastman
- Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd
- Come Along, Daisy! by Jane Simmons
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin
- Edward the Emu by Sheena Knowles