The 2013 Gift Giving Guide for the Special Needs Child

13 Dec

It’s that time of year, where everyone puts out a guide to one holiday thing or another.  As the mom of a special needs child, I am going to call myself an expert on gift giving for children with special needs.  Because I can.

I’ve seen gifts for Maura come and go, gifts that have been loved and those that have been left on the floor, overlooked and gnawed on by the dog.  I have gone through trends and must-haves and come out the other end of it all to bring you my own Gift Giving Guide.

So without further ado…

Tip #1 – Get the child something they want.

Special needs or not, most kids know what they want and what they like.  Maura loves dolls – Barbie dolls, Princess dolls, and long limbed cloth dolls.  She also loves dolls from shows she likes and will eventually have the set.  A boy may love Thomas the Tank Engine and want new trains to add to his collection of 374 trains.  Someone else may just want a Slinky.  That’s great.  Slinkys are cool.

Not sure what the child wants?  Ask their parents.  They’ll know what their child is always lunging for at the store.

Basically, treat them like any other child.  Because really?  That’s what they are.

And a bonus tip –

What to get their parents?  The gift of babysitting services.  It costs you nothing and is priceless to them.



10 Responses to “The 2013 Gift Giving Guide for the Special Needs Child”

  1. doovermom December 13, 2013 at 6:52 am #

    My daughter and I would love to babysit your lovely Maura – if we only lived closer! Your advice is spot on!

  2. franhunne4u December 13, 2013 at 6:58 am #

    Please – not only boys may like Thomas the Tank Engine … Not only girls may like dolls. If Maura does prefer dolls to Thomas, that is fine – but OTHER girls may just LIKE something to build with, some boys may just like to copy their mom’s behaviour and play with kitchen things and dolls … please, do not limit your child.

    • phoebz4 December 13, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

      Hence the “Get them what they want!” part 😉

      One year, my boys were really into trains. But they didn’t have enough tracks to satisfy them. People asked what they should get them, I said “Straight tracks” or “curved tracks” and they were all “Are you sure? Shouldn’t I get them something fun?” But this IS fun to them! Get them tracks!

      They got tracks – and they LOVED it.

      Maura loves “Cars” and has a couple of them – she’s getting Mater in her stocking this year 🙂

      • franhunne4u December 13, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

        Nothing wrong with boys liking “boys’ toys” and girls liking “girl’s toys”! I have had my Barbie years, too. I only stumbled about your comment about Thomas the Tank Engine – no offence meant.

      • phoebz4 December 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

        None taken! Sometimes, you do have to be clear with people that boys like play kitchens and girls like cars.

  3. Suzanne December 13, 2013 at 9:21 am #

    Amen to the babysitting. We’d like to celebrate our 30th anniversary in Paris this year, and will have to pay someone a lot of money to take on this job. And she’s not even difficult! And she is in a day program 4 days a week, plus works at JCPenneys for 4 hours on Friday and 4 on Sunday. No takers! Could it be that no one wants to talk about American Girl dolls ad nauseum?

  4. Amanda December 13, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    I had a 2nd cousin who had Down’s Syndrome. Davey was a great one for drawing on walls. I took some art classes and discovered newsprint pads. In 3′ high sheets no less. Gave a couple of pads of it to my cousin and told her to tape the pages to the walls. Davey loved it. Then we discovered the 4′ wide rolls of brown craft paper. Even better! He had a constantly renewable surface to draw on – every time she put up fresh paper it was like Christmas all over for him – and she didn’t have to care about the walls. It made everybody happy for nearly 30 years.

  5. painspeaks December 13, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    Reblogged this on The Daily Advocate By Painspeaks.

  6. Rachelle Cox December 14, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    It sounds like we have opposite problems. 😛 My family is so concerned with treating my daughter “just like everyone else” that they don’t always consider practicalities. It’s a good problem to have. I like you how mention to ask the parents, because they probably have a pretty good idea of what the kid likes, and what they can actually use.

  7. Marci (@TheMarciFactor) December 15, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    This is true for normal kids also. Everyone laughs when I buy my MonsterBoy Tinkerbell stuff, but hey, he likes it! Along with the cars and all that other boy stuff. And, this can also go along the lines for special needs adults. My husband has hydrocephalus, so some of the things we used to do, we can’t do anymore. What I’ve started doing is noticing what he’s looking at on his iPad…he’s getting a guitar this year!

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