One great way to maximize your holiday giving is to purchase gifts on Amazon Smile. Choose Madison House Autism Foundation as your charity of choice, and a portion of your purchase will be donated to support autistic adults and their families across the U.S.
Doesn’t autumn always seem to disappear just as quickly as it arrives? The leaves are falling, the air is crisp, the cider is warm, and then BOOM! Suddenly, it’s December – time to prepare for the holidays and go through your piles of party invitations and gift lists. Many of you have someone with autism on your list this year and don’t know where to start when purchasing him or her a gift. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Have a simple conversation. Individuals on the autism spectrum each have unique interests. If the adult is verbal, a good first step would be to simply ask what your loved one what he or she would like to receive. Having a conversation about his or her hobbies and passions is a wonderful way to do this. Not only will this help you narrow down your gift options, but it also provides an opportunity to learn new things about that person. If the individual is nonverbal, you may show him pictures of items on Google images, and ask him to choose things that he’d like. If he uses an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device, ask him if he would type out what he’d like.
- Consider purchasing a fun sensory item. Sensory-based gifts are popular among individuals on the autism spectrum, but it is important to recognize that sensory needs vary from person-to-person. One individual may love listening to music, while another may prefer to wear noise-cancelling headphones. Some examples of sensory gifts are pin art (purchase here) and stress balls (purchase here). The Cozy Caterpillar (purchase here) is the top-rated gift for adults on the National Autism Resources website. Check out the video below to learn more!
- Give the gift of rest and relaxation. With all of the holiday bustle, it is essential for all of us to know when to press the pause button. Weighted blankets (purchase here) have numerous benefits for autistic adults, including regulating sleep and body temperature and enhancing one’s mood. They are available in various shapes and sizes, can range from low-end to high-end, and can even be covered by insurance. LED mood lights (purchase here) and noise machines (purchase here) can also create soothing audiovisual experiences that may help autistic adults de-stress.
- Don’t forget to have fun. Board games (purchase here) and jigsaw puzzles (purchase here) are wonderful gifts that encourage team play, eye contact, and can improve communication skills and strategic planning. iPads and tablets (purchase here), although often pricey, can also be of great value to an adult on the spectrum. Not only do they provide all kinds of entertainment, but they can be an essential resource. There a hundreds of applications, free and purchasable, that enhance organization, motor function, decisionmaking, and communication skills. More information on these apps can be found here.
- Make a donation in an individual’s honor. Give the gift that gives back by making a donation to Madison House Autism Foundation (donate here). You can dedicate your donation to an individual and have an acknowledgment with a personal message automatically sent to your loved one’s email.
While material gifts bring joy to many faces, let’s not forget that, above all else, the best gift that your loved one can receive is your love and support. I hope you enjoyed this gift guide. May the holidays bring your family endless warmth and joy.