A.J. asks from Dallas, TX on March 23, 2008
Gifts for Autistic Children
I am hoping someone can help me. My best friends little girl is turning 4 and she is on the Autism Spectrum. I have tried to educate myself on her condition as much as possible. She loves me and loves my son, but is very apprehensive to others. I know that her main issue is with textures. I am hoping some Mom's out there can give me some insight on a great birthday present for her. Something that will help her learn and grow as well as something fun to play with. She loves the Backyardigans and is into star shapes right now. I want to get her something that will allow my BF to be able to take care of her other child who is 1 and know that her daughter is having fun as well. Her daughter isn't into T.V. or Video games(which I feel is a blessing ;)) but it's hard for my friend to take care of her infant when her daughter just want to constantly play outside and what not.....any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!!
S. answers from Dallas on March 24, 2008
What a great friend you are!
You might want to try visiting web sites that design toys especially for children with your friend's child's needs. You could google special needs toys, autism sensory toys, super duper speech store, and visit web sites designed for children with sensory needs.
Also, I have a free social program, Play Pals (for children 16 mos. - 6 yrs.) in which your friend might be interested. We meet about 5-6 times a year(Saturday the Kelly Miller Circus performed a free, private show for us). Her child will have the opportunity to experience more social interactions in a safe environment, and your friend can meet other parents who face similar challenges (and could share helpful information). To find out more, she can visit www.startherapyprograms.com. She could then click on the dancing Play Pal icon.
I hope your friend's daughter has a wonderful birthday!
K.D. answers from Dallas on March 24, 2008
My son is five going on six and has autism. He loves puzzles, (the simple ones that three year olds do), fat crayons w/big coloring books, play doh, books and balls. Those things are easy for him to play with while I fix dinner or tend to my other two kids. Since you said she is into stars right now, another thing I did for Gabe when he was into stars was purchase glow in the dark stars and placed them on his ceiling. Happy Birthday to her. :-)
M.R. answers from Dallas on March 24, 2008
My youngest is also in the Spectrum and high function and LOVES play dooh, Books.
I know how hard it can be. You are a Great friend.
V.L. answers from Dallas on April 08, 2008
My son is turning 10 next month; and has too many issues to list besides Autism. For children with texture issues, try a big bottle of Johnson's baby lotion (the big pink bottle), with the push down squirter. This has been a great "calming" tool for us, besides putting him in the shower.
My son also had to have a pair of socks on his hands for about two years because of the sensitivity. The lotion is what helped us move away from that. Without the lotion, he would hit his head repeatedly until he bruised himself so bad it looked like he was being abused.
A package of balloons works well. Don't blow them up real tight, they need to be "squishable".
Also, these children love music. My son will listen to Josh Groban or Andrea Bocelli; but the key is to make sure the REPEAT button is on for the player. We have listened to the same Barney and Bear in the Big Blue house now, repeated over and over - back to back now, for the last 10 years. And since he only sleeps for 3 hours (in a 24 hour period) you know how exhausted and sick we are of hearing it.
Lastly, since she is 4, and you want to be outside, by a very small blowup kiddie pool that she can sit and lay in, while someone sits outside with her. Make sure the water is warm (let is be in the hot sun for a while). When the warm water is on there body, but they can feel the breeze also, it really soothes them.