Giving family and friends gifts ideas for your special needs loved one

When it comes to gift-buying for family and friends during the holiday season, choosing the perfect present for each person can be a bit challenging, to say the least. If you have a child (or adult, for that matter) with special needs in your life, your friends and family may be a little unsure of what to get them. Fear no more, for we are here to help. We’ve compiled a list of suggestions you can use to help give creative and appropriate gift ideas for your special needs loved one.


First things first, you’ll definitely want to create your gift ideas list with your specific special needs loved one in mind. For example, if they have sensory issues, you may want to consider recommending to your friends and family that they look for toys or gadgets that do not have any bright lights or loud noises. For teenagers and adults with special needs, you may wish to remind the gift-buyer that they like age-appropriate things; they may be interested in items such as electronics that they have seen others enjoying, they may just need some modifications to suit their needs. Keep in mind gross and fine motor skill abilities, and help your friends and family look for toys or gifts that are user-friendly for the recipient.


We also recommend guiding your friends and family to look for adaptive toys designed for children with special needs rather than buying standard toys designed for younger children. A teenager receiving what they see as a “baby toy” can be a bit embarrassing. When in doubt, check out the plethora of websites out there devoted to recommending and selling toys, gadgets, and even electronic devices that have been designed specifically for those with different needs and abilities. Simply doing an internet search for “gifts for children with special needs” yields many websites and articles to give a good starting point. It may be helpful to also provide the gift-giver with your child’s specific diagnosis – searching for “toys for ten year old with cerebral palsy” will likely provide the gift-giver with better, more appropriate suggestions than vague search terms.


While giving cash may seem like an easy answer for the gift-giver, it can come off as a bit impersonal if the gift-giver hands everyone else a personalized, thoughtful gift and then gives the person with special needs an envelope with cash. If the buyer would rather not purchase a gift, we suggest letting them know what your child likes to do so that they could instead get them a gift card or take them on a fun outing. For example, if your child loves going to the movies, they could then get them tickets or take them to the movies. You may also wish to let others know what your child needs, like clothes. While some children may roll their eyes to receive clothes or pajamas, some may not mind, and older kids and teenagers may actually prefer to receive such a gift.


You know your child best and can give recommendations accordingly. Whatever you decide to suggest to your friends and family, we hope that your loved one with special needs feels as special and as loved as we know they are, and that you all have a wonderful holiday season.   

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