We have four kids, and over the years, they have gotten countless gifts on Christmas, birthdays, and sometimes randomly from friends and family.
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about gifts since my two special needs kids are hard to buy for. Unless you know them, a lot of things aren’t always appropriate for them, no matter what the age range on the box states.
Drawing from past experience, I have come up with a few suggestions and ideas if ever you are looking to buy a gift for a child with special needs or their family.
Don’t be afraid to ask the parents for suggestions first. I promise this will save you a ton of aggravation and money, and save the parents a lot of frustration as well.
Ask what they like and what they don’t. In the case of many children with developmental delays such as mine, their interests are not always on par with children their own age.
My daughter is 12 and still likes Elmo from Sesame Street.
Consider their abilities.
One year my daughter received a latch hook rug kit. Perfectly suitable for your typical ten-year-old, but not for a kiddo with dexterity issues in her fingers.
She became extremely agitated when she couldn’t handle the hook to make the rug. Sensory issues are also a huge issue when it comes to gifts of clothing.
Many children can’t handle the tags on the neck or certain fabrics.
When in doubt, gift certificates to favorite shops are a great option.
If the child is old enough, they can pick something special on their own. If they’re too young to choose, their parents will know just what to get them!
If you are trying to decide on a gift that the whole family could use, I can tell you from experience that parents with special needs kids are exhausted from the day to day care of their children, so not having to think about what to fix for dinner would be a blessing.
A gift certificate for take-out or food delivery or a homecooked meal will no doubt be much appreciated!
The gift of time or experience is also amazing.
Offer to come and spend some time with the child(ren), so Mom and Dad can have a little respite. Depending on the child’s abilities, tickets to a local event or museum is a different and unique gift that the whole family may enjoy.
The most important thing to remember when buying for a child with special needs is that the more you know about who you are buying for, the better off everyone will be!
If you’re not sure about what to give, take some time to get to know more about the child or family you are buying for.
Sometimes just taking an interest and showing that you care about their child’s needs is gift enough for any special needs parent!