Some parents worry over what to do when buying Christmas presents for their children. This particularly is true when I was buying presents for my daughter with Autism. When my child was three I wanted presents and was looking through a catalog.
The company I was looking at recommended wooden toys for children with Autism. That sounded good initially, and then I had a vision of the toy sailing through the air like a missile at one of her brothers or sister. That just did not sound like a good idea.
There were all kinds of things that she might like. At that point my daughter liked to play by herself. She liked music, but was not really interested in the television. She liked books that sang, talked, or had textures. She liked being able to press buttons, although she did not always have the physical strength to press them enough to make the toy do whatever it was supposed to do.
Armed with this knowledge I was able to go to the store and figure out some Christmas toys that worked. At that stage it was fairly easy to find toys that she enjoyed and that I was comfortable buying her.
As I look back, they were also toys that any three year old would like. Even the wooden toy was something any three year old would like. I mean what three year old does not throw a toy now or then.
These days Christmas present shopping is even easier. You can buy crayons that only work on the paper they come with. No more crayons on your walls. I wish I would have had those. In the pre-school years puzzles with big pieces were a big hit. That one surprised me. I had gotten two in a package but they turned out to be so interesting to her that I bought more the next birthday.
Play dough and paint sets were another interesting choice for my daughter. We also bought a child’s CD player and the CDs she liked. The buttons were easy enough for her to press. We tried them out. It was made for children so it was not fragile like another child’s.
At various times up until around ten years old we bought an indoor swing and personal exercise trampoline. Those ideas we got from OT and PT catalogs. Although a little tip is to not really buy them there. We got the personal exercise trampoline in the sporting department at the local Walmart. It was a lot cheaper than the ones in the catalogs.
We bought dolls with buttons and snaps. We also had a closed basket that we filled with costumes and ‘grown up’ clothes for her and her sister to play dress up. All of those helped with fine motor skills and self-help skills. Once again in retrospect all things that any other child her age loved at that time in their life.
I did run into problems as she got older though. Well, at least I thought they were problems. My daughter continued to want dolls and stuffed animals into her late teens. At first I resisted it but a good friend pointed out that many women, including myself, collect things including dolls.