December 04, 2009,
J.M. asks from Tucson, AZ on December 01, 2009
Christmas Gifts for My Nephew
I want to get my nephew Jami something for Christmas. He is 3 and Autistic. I want to be able to get him something that will be useful for him not just some toy. He's real big on colors. When I went out to visit him I had to re pack my suitcase 3 times because he kept pulling out my clothes and sorting them by color lol. Any suggestions would be great. His motor skills need the most work so maybe something that would help with that. Let me know what you think. TIA
K.P. answers from Phoenix on December 02, 2009
As a mom who has three kids with autism (6 total) there may be toys that he will like more, but in my experience it is the interaction that develops the child more than the toy. All kids, but especially ones with autism need to have interaction with other people (not movies, toys, etc) - it is the interaction that they struggle with. Children with autism generally do not find interaction with others an easy thing. Whenever you go over to visit, make sure that you get down on his level, and be animated with him. Don't be surprised if it is difficult for him (and as a result you) to interact.
With my children they had a fantastic relationship with one aunt who always made time to spend with each of them. The other aunt, they know by name, but would never respond to her because she did not make the needed effort.
I think one of the best gifts for a child with autism (beyond spending time with them) is a book of something they are interested about (trains, dinosaurs, sharks are most favorite around here) and then read it to them. You can ask them questions (find the tree, bird, train, etc), you can ask what is happening in the story, you can find letters in the words (a lot of kids with autism learn their letters really early).
The best way for any child to learn developmental skills in their natural environment - what they have right around them. As a parent I see lots of other families in my support group go out and buy specialized toys to try to help their kids with, but usually they are not worth it. It is whether the child gets that human interaction that helped my kids so much.
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C.W. answers from Phoenix on December 02, 2009
I used to work with kids with autism, several doing in home therapy and a few in a special needs integrated preschool class. One of the bigget problems for kids with autism is language development typically. It sounds so simple but I think a great playdough set, one of those puzzles with the different colored shapes, a set of multi colored blocks or some great crayola set. While you don't want to see them totally "stuck" on their favorite thing it is smart to use that to motivate them to use language. For example, if he wants the yellow play dough tub or the blue puzzle piece bad enough he just might pop out a word for that. Blocks, by the way, have been shown to be great for language development. So anything super motivating you can use to prompt language development in kids that age is great.
D.H. answers from Phoenix on December 03, 2009
I'll bet he's just wonderful and obviously creative! I'm thinking something like colorful blocks, shapes, letters, numbers - you can probably finds some really cool things like that at the craft store. Put all of the objects in a box, basket, container of some sort (make sure that's very colorful too), and call it his "Colors Box/Basket/Whatever". Then he can pull all the "stuff" out, sort it, stack it, play with it and if you put things like letters and numbers in there, his parents/siblings/grandparents, etc, can identify these with him.
W.H. answers from Phoenix on December 02, 2009
My niece who is 5 now just blossomed with Signing Time. This was so great for her and only when she started using it around 3 did she finally seem "reachable" She has come a long way and my sister credits it all to her awesome preschool teacher and Signing Time DVD's. Definitely get the one on colors for Jami. My niece can sign and sing the colors of the rainbow song from that DVD.
It's really funny & ironic that my sister is deaf and signs with all of her kids, yet she did not pick up on signing from that, she picked up on it from Signing Time. Go figure??
She also had a favorite toy that was made by LeapFrog (I always saw it on the refrigerator, I dont know if it is a fridge toy or not tho) and had letters that you put into the thing and it would say the letter for you. She *excels* at her ABC's now. I don't know if this would be something that Jami would be interested in tho.
E.M. answers from Phoenix on December 03, 2009
I have seen some great sets of oversized (non-choking hazard) beads and shoelace type strings. He may like creating color patterns, etc.
N.K. answers from Albuquerque on December 02, 2009
My 3 year old daugther recently got a turtle that lights up as a gift - I think it is called Twilight or twinkle turtle. I would look for it on-line. It lights up constellations and a moon on the ceiling at night and has different colors. After 45 minutes it automatically shuts off. It is not necessarily an educational toy, but my daughter loves it and I think a boy really into colors would as well.
C.L. answers from Phoenix on December 04, 2009
I get emails from Autism speaks and one of the emails had gift ideas for kids with Autism. Here is the link. I hope it will help. http://www.autismspeaks.org/docs/toptoys.pdf
good luck and merry christmas
H.R. answers from Phoenix on December 02, 2009
I highly recommend the animal boogie and CD for kids with autism. He helps language develop through rhymes and is highly colored and exciting book. You can interact with your child by dancing with the animals by doing the actions.
Its available from Barefoot Books http://www.barefootbooks.com/marketplace/4272
when he is older you could get him the puzzle to go with it