Last minute shopping for people with autism

Our son Gus doesn’t talk. He shows a keen interest in very few things, but he sure knows what he likes — handheld tape recorders, for example. He takes the recorder in one hand, places it near his ear, transfers it to the other hand, places it near that ear, transfers it to the other hand, places it near that ear… you get the picture.

Gus is 21 now, living in a group home with roommates. While he was growing up, we tried our best to find new toys for him to explore — we knew it was good for him to be stimulated by different things. We gave him mobiles, wind chimes, tambourines — anything we could find that was colorful and made noise. He’d usually touch his new gift, cast it aside, and search for… you guessed it — his handheld tape recorder. 

I used to think maybe, just maybe, if there was somewhere I could go for a list of toys especially good for kids with autism and other disabilities, I’d find the magic item, the one thing Gus might like as much as he likes his tape recorder.

Those of you who read my “Celebrating bubble wrap” post know I’m still searching for that magic list. Turns out I’m not alone. A holiday post on’s autism blog covers the same topic.

I’ve been trying to put together some good resources for holiday gift giving this year — and for some reason, I’ve been stuck…truth is, though, that I don’t want autism jewelry… and my son doesn’t really need a weighted blanket. Though he’s autistic, and I’m an “autism parent,” those facts don’t really seem to matter when it comes to giving and receiving holiday gifts.

Comments to that holiday gift blog mention kids with autism who like hats, kids with autism who like The Rescuers books, and kids with autism who like Harry Potter Playstation games.

In the end, that blogger came up with a conclusion similar to mine…

It might be downright silly to think there is a good resource to go to for gifts that are especially suited for kids who have autism or other disabilities. Because, guess what? Kids with autism and other disabilities differ from one another as much as anyone else does!

And so — sorry! I thought I might be able to narrow things down, make things a little easier for those of you reading the Easter Seals and Autism blog, but looks like you might have to get out there and slug it out with all the “average” shoppers. And… yikes! Only six days left before Christmas!

Good luck!

P.S. Gus suggests your loved one might like a handheld tape recorder…!


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  1. Barbara Gaither Says:

    I too am glad that you were able to enjoy Beth’s post. Your post took me right back to that time when my son Scottie was first diagnosed with autism at 2 and 1/2. It was by far my darkest time. But beleive me there is hope ahead. Please know that you are not alone out there. I pray that you will find the help and support you need in the days ahead for yourself and your son. Take care of yourself. Parenting an autistic child can at times be exhausting, but it also is the greatest joy that I have ever experienced(I can say that now, but could not have in the beginning!). Hang in there!
    Barbara Gaither