Gift Ideas: While this list of gifts applies to many people, it was specifically crowdsourced for families looking for: gifts for autistic adults, gifts for autistic teenager, gifts for disabled adults, gifts for special needs adults, gifts for intellectually disabled adults, and gifts for adults with autism. (These are not necessarily the terms I use!)

Teens and adults with autism and disabilities can be so hard to buy for! This post was crowd-sourced from my friends, the Facebook Page, and what I could pull from Twitter.

Many families who sent suggestions have adults with Down Syndrome, intellectual or developmental disabilities, and so on. I also have a list of Adult Sensory Toys if that is what you’re looking for.

Gift for Disabled Teenagers and Adults

If you are buying a gift for autistic adults or an autistic teenager, here are many tried and true ideas. Remember that many of these items will appeal to all kids, not just autistic teens or adults.

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stack of gifts for adult with autism

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 people 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.

yogibo coupon code

This year, we are just in love with Yogibo. Honestly, someone uses a Yogibo product in our house every day. We all love the sensory input and comfort. They are amazing.

Both boys have reading nooks in their bedrooms that include a Yogibo. Here is Kevin in his new Yogibo. Yes, have the ottoman now too.

kevin sitting in yogibo chair

The other gift idea 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.

Here is Kevin playing with his light table. You can click on the photo to see one on Amazon for $119.

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On to the rest of the list.

Gift Ideas for Autistic Adults

For most of these, just click on the highlighted links, and you will be taken to see more options in that category.

1. ASK THEM. Many times, people are more alike than different. We may communicate differently and learn differently, but we all have likes, dislikes, and wishes inside. So whatever is hot and trendy with all teens, whether it be a book, movie, video game, or 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 that 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.

3. Fun Sensory stuffHow about a lava lamp, bubble lamp, and those items? Now, you can even get them as speakers with Bluetooth to hook up to other items.

4. Clock that is a Phone ChargerI 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 a “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.

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.

6. Another mom said that her autistic teenager loves to watch Sand Art.

7. Squeeze Reliever or Hand MassagerWe got one of these to try, and we’re all loving it! Do you have a kid who 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 autistic adult relative who loves sensory input on their hands, this is a great gift idea.

8. Pokemon: New this year, Pokemon! A few moms saw this list and couldn’t believe that I didn’t have Pokemon on it. I’m told that Goo Jit Zu is the hot thing for some kids.

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 might make getting liquids easier. 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 with many 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!

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 always use them and that their kids love getting new apps and music. So, it’s still a good gift idea for an autistic teen. 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, 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.

driving lessons

13. Sound canceling headphonesIf 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 loves his music and the privacy and solitude of headphones. So invest in a good pair.

noise canceling headphones autism adhd anxiety
Click this photo to see the entire list of Noise Cancelling Headphones

14. Almanacs!-Consider an almanac-type book if you have a little details-oriented kiddo who loves to read facts, figures, and statistics.

15. Perplexus Perplexus is a game that came highly recommended by several parents. One look and you’ll probably be able to tell if your child will like it. 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 is great about Perplexus is that there are several variations of it, beginner and up.

17. Sensory Liquid Motion-I don’t want to overdo the sensory and stimmy stuff. But I saw a lot of chatter on Twitter from autistic adults who said they loved 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 any teen girls are inching toward women’s sizes. The Easy Fit jeans are phenomenal. They are as comfortable as leggings or sweatpants but 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 nearby. You can also find talking photo albums, which are great because 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.

24. Pop It– Sensory “stuff” is not just for autistics or kids. Many people find it calming. The hottest trend this year is definitely the Pop It. And they are addicting!

This post is updated annually. Please let me know if you find broken links or cannot find an item. I know that the term “special needs” is being phased out; sometimes, I miss them when editing.

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