How to Begin Your Search for a Great Gift
When beginning your search for the perfect gift for that special Asperger's child in your life, it is important to think outside the box. Keep in mind that the mind of an aspie works slightly differently, but not necessarily too differently from all other children. What may seem like the perfect gift for a non-autistic child could bore the autistic child to tears, and vice versa.
Pay attention to the child's likes and dislikes. When these children decide to like something, they really, really like it! The same goes for dislikes. If your child likes yellow for instance, and you buy something in a different color, they may like it to a degree, but will always notice that it is not yellow. On the other hand, if you hate yellow yourself and decide to try to start a "new" favorite that is more pleasing to you, such as blue, you will get a ho-hum response as well, and possibly an outburst.
If you buy something in a color or texture they really hate, you will have an almost impossible time convincing them to like it. Again, they are very animate about their likes and dislikes.
Buy for the child, not for your own satisfaction of what you deem a good gift. This is very important when choosing gifts for a child with Asperger's. They may not be as forgiving as other children. Again, not all children are the same, and this goes for Asperger's too. You may have a different personality in the child you are buying for that is more forgiving with regards to dislikes.
Keep in mind age appropriateness. If they are 12 years old, but currently have a 10 year old mindset, be sensitive to that. Remember they are not stupid, and if they see an age appropriate symbol much younger than they are, they may point it out to you.
On the flip side, if your Asperger's child is gifted in an area, focus on that. They may be up to speed with their age group. If so your task is much easier.
The next statement I am about to say may seem odd to you at first, but please think it through. Praise the kid, not the Asperger's. They have Asperger's, sure, but they need to feel special just for being themselves. Focus on their likes and dislikes. It is easy to just zero in on the disorder when searching for a gift for a child with Asperger's, and you may be tempted to only buy items from an autistic store online. But aspies don't always want to be reminded of it all the time.
Use common sense and don't freak out. Choosing gifts for a child with Asperger's is not rocket science. You will do fine and this child in your life will be glad you thought of them!
Gift Ideas That Will Make Them Smile!
- Think about their favorite color. Anything bought in their favorite color is a win/win gift.
Find out what types of things they enjoy collecting. These things may or may not be unusual.
- If they are an avid reader, be sure to think books. Children with Asperger's often respond to reading. Often their speech or social skills are not on the same level, so they retreat. This is a great way for them to learn about the world and how to function in it. Some ideas are novels, history books, themed books (i.e., trains or airplanes) or how-to books. Be creative in your choices.
- If you wish to purchase a more expensive gift, think about getting them their own computer or iPad. This can bring the whole world to life for them. There are many learning games and programs for your home PC that can excite them. The iPad offers software geared towards autistic children. From my personal experience these types of programs are helpful at first, but you can graduate quickly to software we all use. Some Asperger's children who are gifted will thrive and learn about things that may go beyond the comprehension of many, such as game programming. If given the tools, they can amaze you at how they figure things out on their own.
- To get them physically active, think sports. Many of these kids need to work on their coordination anyway, so why not buy them a bat and ball if they have shown an interest in those types of sports. Bicycles are always good gifts. Once they learn, they will be having a great time exercising on their own.
- Multiple player games are also wonderful gifts and help the child to interact better with others. If you wish to stay away from electronics for this kind of gift, think basketball or even board games. Chess is a great game to build and strengthen the mind. You may find the child excels over you once they learn the game.
- Wii sports is a great tool for indoor exercise and mind exercise. Kids of all ages love this. For an aspie it builds their coordination and sense of self-esteem when they can manipulate the controllers better than their friends or siblings. I know my son thrives on winning!
Children with Asperger's are not so different from all other children. By keeping these tips I've listed in mind, can help you have an easier time shopping for that special kid in your life. Choosing gifts for a child with Asperger's needn't be something you dread. You can have a great time, and the best part of it all is seeing them smile when they receive the gift you bought them. Have fun with it!
Source: Authors own experience with her own son who is autistic, as well as her studies on the subject over the past 11 years.
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Images credits – photos pages 1 & 2: © 2011, Atlanta Page