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 and 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.

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.


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.

Sale
TickiT Ultra Bright LED Light Panel - In Home Learning Supplies for Sensory Play - Adjustable Brightness - Color and Shape Exploration on a Light Box
  • 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 Autistic Adults

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.

Echo Dot (4th Gen) | Smart speaker with clock and Alexa | Twilight Blue
  • 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 items? Now, you can even get them as speakers with Bluetooth to hook up to other items.


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 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.

Sale
JALL Wooden Digital Alarm Clock with Wireless Charging, Dimmable, Adjustable Volume, 3 Alarms, Weekday/Weekend Mode, Snooze, Digital Clock for Bedroom, Bedside, Office (Black)
  • 【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.


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


7. Squeeze RelieverWe 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.

Sale
Daiwa Felicity Hand Massager Machine - FSA HSA Eligible Rechargeable Compression Therapy Massage assists Carpal Tunnel and Arthritis Pain Relief - 15 Minute Off Timer
  • 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 Daiwa Felicity or U.S. JACLEAN, Inc. 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

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!

Pinch Me Therapy Dough - Holistic Aromatherapy Stress Relieving Putty - 10 Ounce Ocean Scent
  • 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 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.

Sale
Perplexus Revolution Runner Motorized 3D Gravity Maze Game Brain Teaser Puzzle Ball | Anxiety Relief Items | Sensory Toys for Adults & Kids Ages 9+
  • MOTORIZED, MOVING 3D MAZE: Perplexus Revolution Runner is a motorized, perpetually moving 3D puzzle ball. Twist, spin & 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: Keep up with the Revolution Runner’s constant motion by navigating the ball through the maze! As the track inside moves, the obstacles are ever-changing for a constant challenge of agility!
  • 4 SPEEDS TO MASTER: Perplexus Revolution Runner comes with 4 different speeds! This kid & adult toy requires 3 AA batteries (included).
  • SPIN MASTER GAMES: Looking for games for family game night? Our toys & games offer a range from kids games to board games for adults, 3D puzzles for adults & kids, and outdoor games.
  • FIDGET CUBE: Relieve stress with fidgets like fidget toys for kids 8-12 & fidget toys adults can enjoy. Explore fidget toys including fidget cubes & advanced fidgets for kids who seek a challenge!

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 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.

Sharper Image Talking Pictures 24: Album for 24 Photos & 24 Messages
17 Reviews
Sharper Image Talking Pictures 24: Album for 24 Photos & 24 Messages
  • 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 or kids. Many people find it calming. The hottest trend this year is definitely the Pop It. And they are addicting!

ZNNCO 3PCS Silicone Tie-dye Push pop Bubble Fidget Toy, Autism Special Needs Stress Reliever, Squeeze Sensory Tools to Relieve Emotional Stress for Kids Adults (Square)
  • 【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.

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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