Christmas Gift Ideas from an Autism Mom

November 23, 2020 - Rachelle Vaughn

Christmas Gift Ideas from an Autism Mom

By Rachelle Vaughn, Center Manager

As a parent of a child with autism, who graduated from Cornerstone in January, I always struggle with what to get my son for Christmas. He, like many children with autism, sticks to his main staples and seems uninterested or even unphased with new gifts, no matter how much thought or money I put into them.

Through the years, I’ve had success using the websites below and buying several of the gifts on this list. I’ve found that the best gifts are usually encompassing something my child likes in addition to something that will help him with growing his language, fulfilling his sensory needs or improving his motor skills.

I hope these quick ideas will help make your holiday shopping easy and successful!

Some of my favorite sites to shop from are: – Amazon always has plenty of items to choose from, search lists by age and gender as well as Prime shipping! — This has a lot of out-of-the-box ideas and well-made items. There is a nice range of categories and their Holiday Guide is always updated and fun! — I love that this site is sensory-forward and seems to keep children with autism and other developmental disabilities in mind.



Motor Skills:

Top 10 Fan Favorites at all of our centers:

Stocking Stuffers:

Ideas for teens:

  • Gift cards to purchase music and apps on their devices
  • Hand-Held Fidgets
    There are many different types of fidget toys online — this is an example of a Fidget cube ball to relieve stress and anxiety
  • Pottery Wheel
    If they are artistic and like creating with their hands, this would be a great gift!
  • 1,001 Fact Books
    For inquisitive minds, there are a plethora of “1,001 Fact” books on all different topics
  • Weighted Blanket
    Weighted blankets are much easier to find these days. I bought mine at Target, but there are many on Amazon as well.
  • Young Geologists
    Fun activity your child can do with you! Promotes motor movement and auditory stimulation
  • Young Scientists
    For Science lovers — Another fun activity that can be done together while expanding the mind
  • Young Musicians
    For our kiddos who can’t get enough music — Extra auditory input, especially for those who have a hard time with headphones or earbuds. You can keep your head warm too!
  • Wireless Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone 
    For those musically inclined kiddos — You may regret this toy after a few hours of use, but your child will have a blast with it

This year, for my children, I want to focus more on activities and experiences. I’ve learned that though these things may seem expensive up front, they are long lasting memories and skills that my children can keep in lieu of a toy or item they will outgrow. These are also great ideas for grand-parents or aunts and uncles that struggle with what to get your children each year. To make the gift more “exciting” up front, since they aren’t receiving something tangible, you can print a picture, create a social story or purchase a book that talks more about what you will be doing.

  • 1:1 Lessons (Swimming, Gymnastics, Music, Dance, etc.)
  • Family memberships to the Zoo, Children’s Museum, Connor Prairie, etc.
  • Subscription Boxes: KiwiCo, Spectrum Surprise, Spangler Science Club, Sock Panda, Sensory TheraPlay Box, Disney Princess Enchanted Collection, Green Kid Crafts. Guide Dots, The Geeky Pick
    *I love the idea of a subscription box because not only do they receive mail frequently throughout the year, but some of these subscription boxes have activities you can do together!*

I hope this list was helpful for you and at least sparked some creative ideas to use on your own individual child’s gifts this year. Never hesitate to reach out to your BCBA for more individualized ideas of what your child enjoys around our center. Happy Holidays!


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November 23, 2020, Rachelle Vaughn

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