Holiday shopping is stressful, no matter what. In 2020, that stress level has sky-rocketed for a lot of people. Add in the baseline stress experienced by anyone affected by ASD (especially during a routine-destroying year like 2020), and we’re talking off-the-charts levels of holiday anxiety. Don’t worry though, because we’re here to help with a handy autism gift guide to relieve some of the pressure (and time spent Googling or even just brainstorming and using up some of your oh-so-valuable mental energy). Keep reading for all the gift-giving inspo you’ll need for every ASD-affected person in your life.
Best sensory toy for a fidgety kid: Alphafun Waterbeedz
These are smooth, squishy balls that are fun and tactile. They’re designed to help kids with counting, fine motor skills, imagination, language development, and more.
Best weighted blanket for kids: Sivio Kids Weighted Blanket
This blanket boasts more than a thousand five-star reviews on Amazon and it’s clear why—it comes in adorable, kid-favorite patterns, is made of 100% cotton for amazing breathability and temperature control, and is made with eco-friendly, safe, and non-toxic glass beads.
Cost: Varies by weight, starting at $39.99 for the 5-lb blanket
Best weighted blanket for teens and adults: YnM Weighted Blanket
Like the Sivio kids’ blanket, this model has more than a thousand five-star reviews on Amazon. The blanket is made of comfy, super-soft minky fabric and features dots for extra sensory input and designed with multiple layers and smaller compartments to maximize comfort and contour to the shape of your body. The seven-layer structure is designed to keep you comfy and cool, allowing the glass beads that fill the blanket to provide temperature control.
Cost: Varies by size and weight, starting at $30.75 for the 20-lb blanket
Most fun—and helpful—gift for kids with autism: SANHO Premium Sensory Sock
The SANHO Sensory Sock is pure fun and has been described as a “magic weapon to help every special needs child.” The toy is designed to help with a range of obstacles, including language, social interaction,Sensory Processing Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder or anxiety, interests and behavior patterns. In addition to being fun, the Sensory Sock is therapeutic and can help kids develop spatial awareness, encourage creative movement, improve balance and gross motor skills, and provide deep pressure input.
Best calming gift: Noa Store Calming Autism Sensory LED Light Projector
The project simulates the look of ocean water and lets you feel “immersed in the deep sea calm” by projecting dreamy water waves on the ceiling of the room (yes, complete with a moving effect). It’s a soothing sight and promotes both physical and mental relaxation and it’s a great alternative to a traditional nightlight for kiddos who don’t like the dark.
Best baby and toddler toy: Fat Brain Toys Dimpl Baby Toys
Fat Brain Toys’ Dimpl toy is simple but captivating (and beautiful). The toy features five vibrant, silicone bubbles built into a plastic frame that can be pushed, popped, poked, and grabbed. It’s a sensory toy that encourages fine motor skills and cause-and-effect learning and is designed for ages 10 months to two years. The bubbles themselves are made of food-grade silicone and the toy is BPA-free.
Best classic toy for kids with autism: LEGO Classic Medium Creative Brick Box with 484 pieces
Legos have been a hit with people on the spectrum for years. This box is a great starting point (or supplement) that will encourage creativity and open-ended play.
Best gift for a parent of a kid with ASD: Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice
Parents always sacrifice a lot for their kids, but for parents of a kiddo with ASD, sometimes self-care goes completely out the window. This companion journal for former first lady Michelle Obama’s best-selling memoir is a great tool to help parents reflect on their own journeys and personal stories and carve out some important time to put the focus on themselves, even if it’s just to journal for a few minutes a day.
Best gift for a sibling of a kid with ASD: Everybody is Different: A Book for Young People Who Have Brothers or Sisters with Autism
If you’re shopping for a sibling impacted by autism, consider this classic book, which answers a lot of questions siblings of kids with ASD might have.