Gift for Disabled Teenager and Adults
Teens and adults with autism and disabilities can be so hard to buy for! This post was crowd sourced from my friends and from members of our Chat Group and what I could pull from Twitter.
If you are buying a gift for autistic adults or a gift for an autistic teenager, here are many tried and true ideas. Keep in mind that many of these items will appeal to all kids, not just autistic teens or adults. Many families who sent suggestions have adults with Down Syndrome, intellectual or developmental disabilities and so on.
“There’s nothing age-inappropriate about liking things.” If the teen or adult likes characters or toys that are geared toward younger kids, so what? If they like it, they like it. You can expose and introduce, but you cannot force a person of any age to like things they don’t like. If people have a problem with middle-aged me and my teen son liking Sesame Street, that’s their problem. Not mine.
Gift Ideas for Autistic Teenager
Last year, Yogibo was our splurge gift for Kevin. I am trying to buy one larger, more valuable and nicer gift, instead of a ton of inexpensive junk.
This year, we are just in love with Yogibo. Honestly, someone uses a Yogibo product in our house, every day. We all just love the sensory input and comfort. They are amazing. Both boys have reading nooks in their bedrooms that includes a Yogibo. Our local Yogibo store also has Sensory Sundays for families to just come and hang out and enjoy the Yogibo before buying. So check your store, you might be able to try before you buy.
|1||Yogibo Max 6-Foot Beanbag Chair, Bean Bag Couch with a Washable Outer Cover, Customer Favorite Cozy...||820 Reviews||$299.00||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Yogibo Support Reading Pillow Unique U-Shaped Backrest with Arms, Provides A Lift for Watching TV,...||655 Reviews||$109.00||Buy on Amazon|
|3||Yogibo Short Bean Bag Lounger Chair for Adults, Kids and Teens with Filling, Soft, Plush, Comfy,...||135 Reviews||$239.00||Buy on Amazon|
|4||Yogibo SleepyBo Microbead Contour Pillow for Sleeping for Adults Neck and Head Support, Most...||111 Reviews||$69.00||Buy on Amazon|
The other gift idea that I have that is a bit more spendy would be a light table. They don’t have to be babyish or toddlerish. It’s all about how you use it. You can now get transparent Lego-type bricks, Magformers and other accessories that are more mature.
- MULTIPLE BRIGHTNESS SETTINGS -- There are three light settings - bright, medium and dim - to enable the most appropriate light and color exploration.
- ADULT-FRIENDLY -- Includes a handy lock feature which prevents the panel from being switched off unintentionally.
- ILLUMINATE ART -- This LED panel is perfect for budding (or grown) artists! The adjustable lighting makes it great for drawing, stenciling and tracing. The lightweight design will make it easy to prop, pack and travel.
- ROBUST DESIGN -- Lightweight, tough and portable, this light panel will survive the most enthusiastic children in the classroom or home.
- STAYS COOL -- This LED light table top panel will keep cool during its lifespan of more than 50, 000 hours. That means even with 8 hours of constant use each day the panel would last more than 17 years.
On to the rest of the list.
Gift Ideas for Autistics Adults
1. ASK THEM. Many times, people are more alike than different. We may communicate differently and learn differently, but inside we all have likes, dislikes, and wishes. So whatever is hot and trendy with all teens, whether it be a book, movie, video game, music; chances are a teen with autism may enjoy it too. Just ask them. Like many other things, you can adapt. So if a girl wants to read the Twilight series but struggles with reading, get the book on CD or audio. Get a gift card for clothing at their favorite store or take them shopping.
2. Amazon Echo Dot-I am adding this new this year. I just heard from so many parents how this is a perfect gift for teens. And every holiday season, they offer one model for under $30! There are so many uses for this, especially in a disability household. We use ours all the time.
- Meet Echo Dot with clock - Our most popular smart speaker with Alexa. The sleek, compact design delivers crisp vocals and balanced bass for full sound.
- Perfect for your nightstand - See the time, alarms, and timers on the LED display. Tap the top to snooze an alarm.
- Ready to help - Ask Alexa to tell a joke, play music, answer questions, play the news, check the weather, set alarms, and more.
- Control your smart home - Use your voice to turn on lights, adjust thermostats, and lock doors with compatible devices.
- Start Routines with your motion - Turn on compatible lights, play your Flash Briefing, or turn on the coffee maker when you walk into the room.
3. Fun Sensory stuff: How about a lava lamp, bubble lamp and those types of items. Now you can even get them as speakers with Bluetooth, to hook up to other items.
|1||AHCCSD16 Inch Beautiful Magma Lamps,Table Lights-Decal Base Colormax Volcanic with Yellow Wax in...||553 Reviews||$32.99||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Jambo 16-Inch Beautiful Magma Lamp- Blue with Yellow/Green Wax, 16 Inch, Relaxing Night Light...||5,022 Reviews||$30.99||Buy on Amazon|
|3||Lava Original Lamp - 14.5" Aurora Borealis - Purple Wax and Teal Liquid - Home Décor Motion Light -...||28 Reviews||$39.99||Buy on Amazon|
|4||Lava Original Lamp - 14.5" Purple Sunset - Yellow Wax and Purple Liquid - Home Décor Motion Light -...||11 Reviews||$31.02||Buy on Amazon|
4. Clock that is a Phone Charger-I like this clock! We have one. And for many reasons, it is a great gift idea for teens with autism or other disabilities. First, it is a clock (duh!) and you can set multiple alarms on it. I like this for the kid who struggles with executive functioning skills such as time management in the morning. You can set one clock for a wake-up time, and another for “you should be out of the shower and dressed” time. Then, it’s also a charging dock. For the kid who likes to take his device to bed with him at night, no more struggles of where to keep it while they are sleeping.
- 【Wireless Charging】 - Conveniently charge your phone while it is placed on the alarm clock, supporting most universal Wireless Charging cellphone models.
- 【Triple Independent Alarm Settings】- Wake yourself and your family up more effectively by setting two or three alarms, ensuring no more delays. Plus, this alarm clock allows you to intelligently set different ringing modes based on weekdays, weekends, or daily requirements, enabling you to schedule your time more efficiently.
- 【Stylish Wooden Design】- Enhance your bedroom decor with this exquisitely designed alarm clock. Its stylish appearance and multiple functions make it a perfect gift for kids.
- 【Adjustable Brightness and Volume Levels】- Personalize your experience with adjustable brightness and volume levels, offering multiple options to cater to your individual preferences and needs.
- 【Powered by USB】- Equipped with a USB power cord for reliable and stable performance. Please note that this clock does not support battery operation.
5. Age Appropriate Puzzles: Puzzles are so popular for all ages. And hey, some kids may still do the chunky wooden puzzles and that’s fine too. But there are things out there for all ages and abilities.
|1||Wooden Twist Cube IQ Puzzle - Wooden Brain Teaser - Brain Teaser Puzzle for Children Teenager Adults...||290 Reviews||$10.99||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Think Gizmos Wooden 3D Puzzle for Adults & Teenagers – Robot Brain Teaser Building Kit with...||871 Reviews||$19.95||Buy on Amazon|
|3||Hummingbird Wooden Puzzle for Adults, 108 PCS Animal Unique Shaped Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles - 7.55 x...||20 Reviews||$18.80||Buy on Amazon|
|4||17 Pack Brain Teasers Puzzles for Kids & Adults, Brain Teasers Metal and Wooden IQ Puzzle Toys Mind...||102 Reviews||$16.95||Buy on Amazon|
6. Another mom said that her autistic teenager loves to watch Sand Art.
|1||Arthink Moving Sand Art Picture in Motion Round Glass 3D Deep Sea Landscape, Dynamic Sand Art...||331 Reviews||$13.98||Buy on Amazon|
|2||rysnwsu 3D Dynamic Sand Art Liquid Motion, Moving Sand Art Picture Round Glass 3D Deep Sea Sandscape...||1,027 Reviews||$15.99||Buy on Amazon|
|3||Aoderun Moving Sand Art Picture Round Glass 3D Deep Sea Sandscape in Motion Display Flowing Sand...||1,792 Reviews||$23.99||Buy on Amazon|
|4||17.3'' Moving Sand Art, 3D Sand Painting Wall Art Deep Sea Sandscape Living Room Decoration, 360°...||141 Reviews||$78.00||Buy on Amazon|
7. Squeeze Reliever–We got one of these to try and we’re all loving it! Do you have a kid who just loves deep pressure and sensory of that sort? You put your hand into it and the compression massager massages to give your autistic teen the sensory input that they love. If you have an adult relative with autism who just loves sensory input on their hands, this is a great gift idea.
- IMPORTANT POWER ON/OFF - To power on the hand massager, press and hold the power button until you see the control panel lights
- PLEASE REVIEW AMAZON RETURN POLICY - Amazon won't accept returns of this item. Please contact us directly if need to return or replace for any reason
- FSA HSA Eligible Hand Massager - No more stress on your hands or your wallet
- Don't Forget The Wrist - Open design lets you slide more of your hand into the massager to the wrist
- Give Yourself a Hand... massage. Releases tension & cramping through the fingers & top of hand
9. Personalized Krazy Straws-Personalized stuff is so hot right now. So how about a personalized Krazy Straw? They’re fun and inexpensive. And hey, if you have feeding issues, it just might make getting liquids in an easier task. All kids will love this, but I love the personalized aspect of it for kids with autism and just the fun factor.
10. Pinch Me Dough-Pinch Me Dough is a therapeutic putty or dough and it has lots of uses. From strengthening hands for fine motor tasks to reducing anxiety, having a fidget something or sensory input…makes a great stocking stuffer. This is a great gift idea for teens with autism. The aromatherapy aspect of the therapy dough makes it multi-sensory, which I love!
- OCEAN: Ah, the soothing aroma of the surf. A soft, tranquil scent that's sure to speak to your inner mermaid. Dip your fingers in the OCEAN and let the calming begin.
- THERAPY DOUGH: Enhance your mood and relieve your stress with Pinch Me Therapy Dough, a squishable putty that channels relief through the senses with its aromatic scent, soft texture, and calm color.
- HOLISTIC HELP: Refocus, rebalance, and restore with aroma treatment dough. As you knead, it will take the edge off and will act as a hand strengthener. Simply squeeze the dough and enjoy.
- PLIABLE PEACE: Massage this pliant putty between your fingers and feel the stress fade away. With its malleable texture and naturally soothing scent, this dough is superior to any fidget toy or slime.
- RELAXING REMEDY: This calming, sensory dough works as thinking putty and a stress reliever for adults. Use it for hand exercise, natural relaxation, and mood enhancing properties.
11. iTunes Gift Card-One of my mom-friends posted, “Give me gift ideas that are not iTunes gift cards!” So to that, yes, I hear you. Many times an iTunes gift card is an easy way out. Still, I heard from autism moms that they do always use them and that their kids love getting new apps and music. So it’s still a good gift idea for a teen with autism. Or any person, really. Just make sure that they have Apple products and not Android.
12. Driving Lessons-If a child is in special education, chances are they learn differently. If learning to drive is an option, then let’s make it happen. Call around and find a driving school so that they can get some extra instruction and practice. Teens with autism need extra practice and should be given the opportunity if driving is a reality.
13. Sound canceling headphones–If a child has auditory processing disorder or other sound issues related to autism (or even if they don’t!) they may struggle with discerning different sounds they hear in their natural environment. Or, as one mom suggested, her son just loves his music and loves the privacy and solitude of headphones. So invest in a good pair.
14. Almanacs!-If you have a little details-oriented kiddo who just loves to read facts, figures, and statistics, consider an almanac type book.
|1||Ken Jennings's Trivia Almanac: 8,888 Questions in 365 Days||443 Reviews||$24.16||Buy on Amazon|
|2||The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2022||1,910 Reviews||$11.99||Buy on Amazon|
|3||The World Almanac Brain-Boosting Trivia Challenges: 150 Large-Print Games!||1 Reviews||$11.29||Buy on Amazon|
|4||The World Almanac 2020 Trivia Game||$34.03||Buy on Amazon|
15. Perplexus –Perplexus is a game that came very highly recommended by several parents. One look and you’ll probably be able to tell if your child will like it or not. As you can see the box says Age 6 and up, but I never pay much attention to those. If they like it and can use it, get it.
16. Perplexus (again!)-What I like about Perplexus is that there are several variations of it, beginner and up.
- MOTORIZED, MOVING 3D MAZE: Perplexus Revolution Runner is a motorized, perpetually moving 3D puzzle ball. Twist, spin and turn to navigate the ball through the track and ever-changing obstacles to keep up with the maze’s movement without falling into the trench!
- MULTI-PATH MAZE WITH OBSTACLES: Keep up with the Revolution Runner’s constant motion by navigating the ball through the multi-path maze! As the track inside moves, the obstacles are ever-changing for a constant challenge of agility and speed!
- 4 SPEEDS TO MASTER: Perplexus Revolution Runner comes equipped with 4 different speeds! Master the first speed, then step up your difficulty level to faster speeds for even more thrilling, high-tension challenges through the labyrinth maze!
- 3D BRAIN TEASER MAZE: Test your dexterity with this 3D puzzle. Portable size makes it the perfect travel game, fidget toy or take-anywhere puzzle for on-the-go fun. Makes a great gift for kids aged 9 and up. Requires 3 AA batteries (included). Twist it. Turn it. Beat it!
- FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY: Next time you get together with family and friends, bring along a Spin Master game. The perfect activity for memorable game nights, birthdays, dinner parties, vacations, holiday & Christmas gifts, and any time you just want to have fun!
17. Sensory Liquid Motion-I don’t want to overdo it on the sensory and stimmy stuff. But I saw a lot of chatter on Twitter, from autistic adults, who said they love these things. And, they find them calming when they are anxious.
18. Netflix-A subscription to Netflix is a great idea for a teen/tween. They have so much programming to offer for that age group.
19. Gift Cards- A great idea that allows them to practice independence. Maybe just a Visa card, or maybe to a specific place. But a gift card begins to teach budgeting, spending and independence in the community. Many parents said that their teens love getting gift cards and more importantly, love being invited out because many times they are left out of social outings by their family and friends.
20. Lee Jeans-I’m adding the Lee Jeans link for women’s jeans if there are any teen girls who are inching toward women’s sizes. The Easy Fit jeans are phenomenal. They are as comfortable as leggings or sweatpants, but they look like jeans. I think they are a great option for a teen girl with autism who has sensory issues and dislikes regular jeans (and I would have to include myself in this category).
21. Audiobooks – A great idea for struggling readers.
22. Inexpensive tablets – These are a great idea for reading, games, videos, apps and so much more. And hello? The Fire is now under $50 when it’s on sale.
23. Photo books– These are great for family members who do not live close. You can also find talking photo albums which are great because then the gift recipient can hear your voice whenever they want. If you don’t have time to set up a talking photo album before Christmas day, purchase it and work on the project together over the holidays. Along these same lines, you may want to look into digital photo frames, particularly if you do not live close to your gift recipient.
- Record a 10-second Message for each photo
- Handsome leather-like cover
- Flash memory preserves digital recordings forever
- Album holds 24 4x6 inch photos
24. Pop It– Sensory “stuff” is not just for autistics, and not just for kids. Many people find it calming. The hottest trend this year is definitely the Pop It. And, they are addicting!
- 【Premium Quality】Silicone materials, will not cause any harm to humans and pets parents can rest assured, to buy for your children. popping fidget toy make with high quality silicone
- 【Effectively Relieve Stress】This push bubble pop fidget toy has a quiet side and a loud side to pop. It can effectively relieve anxiety and stress and help restore mood. It is idea for people with autism, the ADHD, the elderly, children and adults who need to relieve stress
- 【Game Instruction】Players take turns pressing as many as they want in a row. The player who presses the last mouse loses. It exercises the child's logic thinking ability, which is very interesting and inspiring
- 【Portable perfect gift】This toy is a perfect gift for children. It can not only relieve stress, but also train children's basic mathematical knowledge. It is convenient to carry when traveling, and you can play in cars, airplanes, restaurants, camping, schools and offices anywhere. Can be reused and cleaned
- 【Easy to Carry】 It’s about the size of an frozen waffle，Palm-size, easy to carry, does not occupy the bag space. It can be used for party, camp, school and many other places
25. Projex– Projex is a gaming system. But, unlike say an Xbox or PS5, it is affordable and much easier to use. And, it still feels like a modern gaming system and my boys have fun with it. It’s another way for my boys to interact, which isn’t always so easy given the differences in their skill sets.
This post is updated annually. Please let me know if you find broken links or cannot find an item. I am aware that the term is “special needs” is being phased out, sometimes I miss them when I am editing.
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