Everyone wants to get the perfect gifts for people on their holiday shopping lists. Shopping for a child with special needs can make gift-giving a bit more difficult. After all, buyers want to ensure the gift is practical as well as thoughtful. However, there are many great gift ideas for special needs children.
Buying gifts for kids with a disability or other special needs make take a little more time, but shoppers who consider a child's developmental readiness as well as personal interests can still find the perfect gift.
* Consult with parents and caregivers. Parents often know best when it comes to their own children and will make the most reliable source as to which gifts to buy for special needs children. Parents may have a list of items a therapist or teacher has suggested, and these learning tools could make good gifts, particularly if parents' own budgets are stretched. If you'd like to make the gift a surprise for everyone involved, go directly to a therapist or teacher and ask for suggestions. There may be classroom aides that can be bought to continue the learning experience at home.
* Assess developmental level. When it comes to special needs children, age does not always dictate the proper developmental level. A pre-teen with special needs may not be on the same level academically and socially as his or her peers, while some special needs children may be more developed in a particular area than other special needs kids their age. Assess a child's developmental level to help you select toys that he or she can play with. For example, a nonverbal child with autism who likes marine life may benefit from a colorful picture book where he or she can point to the animals.
* Think about interests. Most children gravitate to certain types of toys and have specific interests when it comes to play. A music lover may enjoy a learner's guitar or keyboard. Those who like to build would probably like a Lego(R) or Mega Bloks(R) set that can be transformed into cars, trucks or even space stations. Most children benefit from art sets where they can explore their creativity and also master greater dexterity and imaginative thinking.
* Consider making a financial donation. Some children with special needs require the use of specialized equipment, such as braces or wheelchairs. Such equipment can be expensive, and the child's family might benefit from a financial gift. A monetary gift to be put toward medical supplies, travel, gear, or even a charitable donation to an association would make fine gifts.
Special needs children are just like others in that they look forward to the bounty of holiday gifts. Choosing presents that pertain to their interests, needs and developmental readiness can ensure that this holiday season is a happy one.