For many parents, finding the perfect gift for their child can be a stressful time. But for parents of teenagers with special needs, this time of year can be even more difficult. Not only are you trying to find out what your child wants, but you also have to include safety and other considerations into your decisions. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our favorite gifts for special needs teenagers this holiday season.
- A weighted blanket
Weighted blankets help provide a comforting feeling that can be calming and relaxing for people who suffer from anxiety or from certain kinds of Autism Spectrum Disorder. They’re available in a variety of weights, and they’re easy to clean and store when they’re not being used.
- An electric toothbrush
If your daughter has difficulty brushing her teeth, an electric toothbrush may be just the thing to make keeping her mouth clean easier! Most electric toothbrushes come with timers so she’ll know how long to brush each quadrant of her mouth, and some even play music while they work!
- An activity tracker
The holidays can be one of the most active times of the year—with all the decorations and parties, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the things going on around us.
If you have a teen with special needs, the holidays can be particularly stressful. You want to get them something they will enjoy and find meaningful, but you also want to make sure that it’s something that is accessible to them and doesn’t pose any potential hazards.
Most teens with special needs will enjoy gifts that are designed for their specific condition, such as books on autism or dolls that come with wheelchairs. But some teens may not want their condition to be a focal point of their gift, especially if it’s something they struggle with daily.
You’ll also want to consider whether your teen has any sensitivities or triggers you should be aware of when buying a gift. For example, if your teen has autism and is sensitive to loud noises, you might avoid buying toys that make noise or clothes with tags. If your teen has Down syndrome, look for clothing in styles that are a good fit for their body type rather than trying to buy clothes from the youth or adult section of a store.
In the same way that teenagers with typical development are unique, so are special needs teenagers. There is a wide range of disabilities in terms of severity, symptoms, and characteristics. In many ways, gifts for special needs teenagers are no different than gifts for other teenagers. However, some gift ideas focus on particular aspects of their disability such as communication or social skills. Some gifts target their emotional health and others help them to learn new skills or develop those already acquired.
Here are some gift ideas for special needs teenagers:
- An electric typewriter if they can type but not write
- A voice-activated computer
- A writing tablet
- Sensory toys for a blind teenager
- A large print Bible if they have visual impairments
- A talking calculator if they have dyscalculia (math disability)
- A talking watch if they have problems with time management skills
- A video game console helps them develop social skills and motor coordination
There are plenty of gifts for special needs teenagers, but you have to know what the teenager likes. You could buy them a toy that will help them exercise or something to do with music. They might like a puzzle or a book.