Choosing toys for a child with autism is often a challenge as it requires both fun and safety while maintaining the sensory aspect.
Children on the spectrum need more attention while selecting the ideal gift for them. Toys are an excellent means for children to mingle and socialize with peers. Yet, walking down the aisle in a toy store often gets difficult and confusing to choose presents for an autistic child.
Kids with autism should have toys that help them learn about social skills, encourage interaction, and help them communicate. It is essential to find presents that are both educational and beneficial for their motor skills development.
Opting for age-appropriate toys might not always be useful, especially for those who are considered low functioning. You might need to look in the infant section and choose more flexible and hard to break toys in many cases. Allowing them to touch different things while maintaining safety is essential for their growth.
Choosing Toys for a Child with Autism. This article will give you some tips to use as a guide to buying presents for someone on the autism spectrum.
1. Combine the Fun and Safety Factor
Choosing gifts for kids with autisms needs some extra care and a few extra safety factors need to be kept in mind. Toys need to be fun, colorful, and safe so that it becomes easy to grab their attention, and playing with them would not pose any threat.
Many autistic children like to chew their toys or put things in their mouths. To keep them safe you will want to make sure to stay away from toys that are sharp. Toys that crack and tear easily, shatter when dropped, or have many small parts can have choking hazards (like crafting kits).
2. Consider Toys with Sensory Aspects
Autistic children commonly struggle with sensory challenges. So, it is vital to select gifts that are sensory friends and appeal to their senses. A suitable way of instilling sensory understanding in a relaxing and harmless means is by choosing proper toys.
You can pick a box of yarn, containers filled with raiser beans, slime, playdough, or kinetic sand. Soft clay, water tables, kinetic rocks, sand tables, or a box filled with softballs that children can touch and feel also work.
Sensory bottles can also work, but you want to make sure they are safe enough that if dropped, they won't cause harm or have small pieces.
It might take a while to introduce them to the sensory toys. They might not enjoy playing with these at first. Your patience is crucial while attending to situations like this. Remember not to push. Instead, give them time to get familiarized with the sensory toys.
3. Do not Stick to the Recommended Age on the Packaging
Children on the spectrum usually do not show cognitive development according to their chronological age. So, it is not wise to follow the suggested age on the packaging of the toy.
Be mindful to choose toys that help them put together things, organize items, assemble to give a structure, build new things, and correlate with their peers.
4. Go for Simple and Less Complicated Options
It is always a good idea to choose relatively straightforward and less complicated presents for autistic children. You can keep it simple by having a few options rather than stuffing a room full of toys. A situation like that can be overwhelming and cause overstimulation for an autistic child.
Look for more typical toys. For children with low-functioning autism, simple gifts like open-close toys, push-button, stacking toys, or cause and effect playthings are best.
As for kids with high-functioning autism, go for more interactive options like video games and board games.
5. Arrange Surprises with Stocking Stuffers
Stock stuffings are a great way to create a fun environment for your child. You can buy play foams as they can be sculpted into any shape without making a lot of mess. You can also stick your hand inside colorful water beads and play with it.
Basic building blocks, legos, bead sewing kit, wooden shape sorter, or puzzles will help children with autism learn progression. They can stack, build, and recreate independently or follow instructions whenever they feel like playing. It can help to improve motor skills.
Hoberman balls, nesting toys, rotary toy fish tanks, bubble machines, plastic pools, or homemade ball pits for kids to play in the bath are some of the good picks you can choose from.
Musical instruments can also have some sensory aspects. Colorful bouncy balls, a small trampoline, trinkets, bell sticks, flexible building strings with suction cups are also useful for enhancing neuro skills.
Squishy balls or plush toys with soft lights that children can take them in their bed are again great for stock stuffing.
6. Talk to Your Child
It is not always easy to communicate with a child who has autism. Since he or she is limited with their communication, proper detection becomes difficult. You need to have patience and adopt different methods to ask your child.
Any sort of communication, verbal, or sign is essential. Take help from people if necessary. Try to figure out the toys and gifts that will engage him and keep him interested.
7. Play with Them
Before getting your child with autism accustomed to a new toy, you might need to play with it multiple times. Some children prefer more sports, physical activities, and hard toys, while others prefer more sensory trinkets. It is essential to introduce children to both categories and let them have the option to pick.
You can do DIY simple projects with your child. Work on making your child feel interested in playing with the toys. Make sure that they are enjoying and having fun while playing. It might be hard at the beginning, but make time for them. Arrange for get-togethers with family and friends.
8. Take Expert Opinion
Schedule a conversation with your kid’s therapist or teachers for proper guidance and recommendations. You can always consider taking advice from experts while choosing exciting presents for your child with autism.
Search for online suggestions as well. There you can find a variation in options. Websites on children’s specialized hospitals are another excellent alternative for expert advice. You will be able to find professional recommendations. Checking with different online retailers might also enlighten you with information.
In short, parents who raise children with autism often look for ideas to handle the different challenges that may arise. Choosing toys for a child with autism is another such challenge that needs a lot of attention. It is always best to choose toys that help enhance life skills and are suitable for their motor development.