Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Christmas Gifts

It's the most wonderful time of the year, right? In the grand scheme of things, we know picking out the perfect Christmas present isn't a life or death decision, but when it comes to choosing something for your child, special needs or not, you want to choose something that will bring that precious smile to their face. It's a precious time of year, when whatever we do or purchase is meant to celebrate that child. Whether your budget is non-existent or numbers millions of dollars (would be nice, right?), our Facebook Fanpage discussion had a lot of wonderful ideas for holiday shopping.

Bri wrote: I was wondering what parents plan on buying their special needs child(ren) for Christmas. Last year I bought my non-verbal nine year old child an iPad which she is very attached to.I doubt I can buy anything this year that comes close. I am looking for any ideas. 

Cal said: I don't think you should try and top it...what would do next year and the year after???

Shannon answered: iTunes gift cards to buy new apps? Target often has buy 2 get 25% off the 2nd.

Monica suggested: We are in the exact same boat with our son!!! He got and iPad last year and I feel like nothing we could get could come close to the iPad he loves so much.

Sherri said - Christmas and birthdays are when we go but things that feed our son's narrow interests. (Lizards, Pokemon, different versions of Monopoly - he is trying to collect as many versions as possible as he thinks he NEEDS them all, Lego StarWars, etc.)

Brenda added: My son got an iPad last year. He downloads free games and apps all the time. I'm looking at possibly giving him money for certain games he wants to buy for his iPad. each game/app (cash) would be wrapped separately. 

Kathy said: Same here. Our 9-year old non-verbal son who has Down syndrome and autism loves the iPad. He loves electronic toys in general and over the years we have invested in most types of toys, but now it is hard to top the iPad. So, we are branching out of electronics and going for physical fun. he likes Nerf gun toys and to watch us have Nerf battles. 

Leah answered: i usually have luck finding sensory-stimulating, inexpensive items in toy sections - things that glow, light up or spin....And I try to vary the texture of items. Play-Doh is great, too, and dress-up items. Hope this helps!

Cheryl suggested: We're getting a Leap-pad Ultra-rechargeable built in batteries so my son and his friend (not sure who has been doing it) can't remove and lose the batteries. also it has Blue's Clues videos available which he likes. Just wish it had The Wiggles and that would really make his day. This is all so that the iPad is mainly for communication.

Rachel said: I am not sure yet, possibly a cool big bean bag chair or sensory swing.

Kelly answered: Keyboard if they like making music or just noise! Paints and canvases. If you have a local newspaper like we do here you can buy large end rolls of paper they can paint and cut up, play with or simply tear to pieces! Make their own costumes out paper, etc. 

Amy suggested: i think we're keeping it pretty simple this year, books and DVDs and stuff. What about apps for her iPad or an iTunes gift card?

Kathy said: Buy great art supplies, paints. etc.

So many wonderful suggestions. One thing we do in our house is talk about wants and needs for the kids. We discuss the difference, and although I'm not sure what they retain, at least we try! My girls pour over the toy catalogs and the weekly circulars that come in the mail. They make their wish lists based on their ability levels. They either circle the items, cut the items out, or actually write a wish list on paper. Yes, they ask for silly things and yes, they ask for unattainable items, but it gives me a great idea of what they are looking for.

Little Miss M loves playing pretend. I am planning to put together a pretend school kit and a pretend theater kit. I'm going to get pretty boxes, decorate them and fill them. In the school kit, I will get or make certificates, a small chalkboard, a planning book, stickers and more. In the theater box, I plan to locate some kid's scripts, a playbill, tickets, a wig and maybe some other small accessories. Little Miss M has asked for a sewing machine and fabric to make costumes. I plan to find something small and some scrap fabric. She also loves music, so I am researching music players for her to listen to in her room. Little Miss M has also been taken by the solar system and the concept of historical fiction, so I will be looking to those.

K-Bear wants every brightly colored item in the toy catalogs. However, she loves her 18" dolls and dressing them up. I intend to look for a closet or to make a box with a pole to hang the doll clothing on. An art kit focused on her favorite color of pink would be incredible for her. She loves dress-up and role playing. She also needs a new bike -- so there are a lot of things to think about.

Z-Baby is easy as she can't ask for anything yet or she can point to everything, but doesn't really care. Anything Minnie Mouse (as Mimmie is one of her words) will go over huge. Her sensory needs shout that she needs a trampoline and a tent with tunnel.

This holiday will mean budgeting and scouring for deals. If I could, I would buy the girls anything they asked for, but we - like most- are on a tight budget. So, I will pour over Pinterest and be as creative as I can. I also intend to use a cute app I found.

Gift it (Free iPad/ iPhone) is a list making app that allows the user to make as many shopping lists as wanted. If you wish to download this app, please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by clicking this link:



Gift it is a handy app that allows the user to make shopping lists and stay on budget. You can create multiple different lists and on each list you enter whatever items you desire. With each item, you also enter a price. This gives the user a budget to work with and allows you to literally cross off items with your finger as they are purchased. You can customize the shopping list as you deem necessary. There aren't a ton of choices for customizing, but the user can also share each list on social media or by email. There are apps and external links that get a bit in the way, but as the adult, this list maker may prove handy for the holidays.


Amanda loves holiday shopping, and wishes she had the money to make everyone's dreams come true. Since that day is not here, she will coupon, be creative, and scour ads to find the best gifts possible!

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