Christmas is just around the corner and people are already searching for special toys to give as gifts for the holidays. Buying the right toy is often a challenge but it is one that is magnified for children dealing with autism spectrum disorders. Autism is a development disorder that impacts children in a variety of ways. One of the key reasons that autism is a spectrum disorder is because it affects each child differently. Some children may deal with a range of sensory issues while others might deal with language issues.
Safety is always an issue when choosing toys. Buying an item that is not safe could lead to injury or problems in general. The following are some safety issues that relate to children on the autism spectrum that might be overlooked or not considered when purchasing gifts for Christmas.
Safety issues to consider for children with Autism
Many people forget that autism causes children to behave in ways that may not be developmentally appropriate for their age. Be sure that toy is developmentally appropriate for the child regardless of what the recommended age on the package says. Know the specific needs of the child before making toy purchases. Knowledge helps combat a number of issues when dealing with autistic children and Christmas gift giving.
Steer clear of possible choking hazards
What may not be a choking issue for a five year old could present a major problem for a five year old with autism. Children with autism sometimes crave oral stimulation and will often put things into their mouths. This will include the new toys that are gift items at Christmas. Avoid toys that have small parts that could create possible choking hazards. Because of the various oral issues, be sure to look for toys that can be easily washed if they are placed in the mouth of the child.
Miscellaneous safety issues
There are also issues with long strings, sharp edges or gears that children could pinch fingers. Always avoid anything that makes use of magnets because the magnet could be swallowed if the child places the toy in their mouth.
It is important to remember that children dealing with autism often experience the world and investigate belongings in ways the average person may not consider. Make sure every part of the toy can be touched, tasted and rubbed against. Be careful of toys with small openings that could cause fingers to become stuck. Examine every possible gift item and look for anything that could hurt the child in any way.
Safety issues for children on the autism spectrum are different than children without development disorders. Consider the child and their developmental stages when making purchases. Remember the potential for additional choking hazards for autistic children. Keep issues such as moving parts and strings in mind when selecting toy items for autistic children. When deciding on gifts for children on the autism spectrum keep these additional safety issues in mind.