Since the holidays are almost here, we bet that you already have presents ready to give to your young sweetie with autism. But keep on shopping — even just a little bit! Treat your child to one or more of the following fun gifts that help improve their skills or mood.
1. Mini Trampoline: Bouncing is a blast! Plus, jumping may help make your child more calm and happy, because exercise expends excess energy and raises serotonin — a neurotransmitter that boosts mood – levels.
2. Puzzles: Most kids love to put them together, especially when the puzzles feature their favourite characters, such as Dora or Spiderman. The added bonus is that assembling these toys helps strengthen your child’s fine-motor skills and ability to scan.
3. Model Me Kids Videos: If your child loves to watch shows, they’ll enjoy these learning videos that target a variety of social skills. Watch with them, then role-play what you’ve seen to help your child acquire the skill.
4. Board Games: Pick out games that you can play together. It’s a fun way to work on turn-taking, joint attention and following the rules! What’s more, your child will be thrilled to have one-on-one time with you. Easy, cause-and-effect board games, such as Hungry Hungry Hippos, Pop-Up Pirate and Connect 4, are great for beginner-intermediate learners, while more complex games, such as Monopoly Jr., Hedbanz and Guess Who?, are ideal for advanced learners.
5. LEGO: Creating a tower, castle or superhero out of LEGO helps improve your child’s fine-motor skills. While it’s a great solo activity, we recommend building together sometimes. Doing so can improve joint attention, sharing and modeling//imitation skills. Take turns constructing a collaborative tower or make something yourself and then ask Sam or Sue to copy what you did.
6. Play-Doh: From a sensory perspective, Play-Doh’s bright colours and squishy texture are awesome. Plus, rolling, pressing and shaping it helps boost fine motor abilities, because it strengthens muscles in the hands. What’s more, playing with Play-Doh together promotes joint attention, imitation and social skills.
7. Toys to Promote Pretend Play: Get your child fun, motivating toys – things that appeal to their particular interests – that they can play regularly with you, a sibling or friend to build their pretend play skills. For example, have a tea party with a musical tea set, play doctor with a toy medical kit or make-believe that you’re different animals with a pretend farm.
Happy shopping and happy holidays!
Read our post on Gifts That Promote Independence for your child with Autism.