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 Facebook 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.
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.
- The Ultra Bright LED Light Panel l with 3 light settings is an essential and versatile cross-curricular resource
- Manufactured in China
- Manufactured by TickiT
- Package Dimensions: 18.11" L x 13.39" W x 0.31" H
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 special needs 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.
- Connect with others hands-free - Call friends and family who have the Alexa app or an Echo device. Instantly drop in on other rooms or announce to the whole house that dinner's ready.
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.
- Yellow Wax in purple liquid
- Provides relaxing, soft light
- Silver aluminum base and cap
- 40-Watt light bulb included
- Plugs into a standard 120-Volt wall power outlet
- Romantic Liquid Motion Lamp: Turn on the lamp, the light shines on the yellow wax, as the wax liquid is heated, the wax floats to the top, and then slowly sinks, like lava, you will be very surprised by this lamp . The light illuminates the beautiful yellow wax liquid in the lamp, the wax liquid transforms various beautiful shapes, and the atmosphere of the whole room becomes very dreamy and charming.
- Relieve Stress and Improve Mood: When you feel the work pressure is very heavy or you are in a bad mood at that time, turn on the SanCook liquid motion light, the wax liquid slowly rises and falls like lava, the calm light makes you relax and quiet down. The lamp is very suitable for relieving stress and relaxation, and helping you to get back to good condition.
- Night Light and Atmosphere Light: The liquid motion lamp can be placed in the office, bar reception, meeting room, hotel, room and living room. The wax liquid flowing slowly like lava makes people feel very comfortable; at the same time, it can be placed on the desk at night , The bedside table is used as a night light to make the room more romantic and warm.
- Professional quality: The Liquid motion lamp bottle body is made of aluminum alloy and tempered glass, and has been reinforced, so a slight impact will not cause damage. The bulb has a very long lifespan, and the thick glass bottle ensures that the liquid in the lamp will not overflow or break easily. The SanCook liquid motion lamp will always accompany you with its beauty and lasting quality.
- The Best Gift for Adults and Kids: The liquid motion lamp is an excellent gift and decoration for Christmas, Halloween, birthday parties, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and home office bedroom rooms. It is also the best gift for children, moms, dads, wives, husbands and friends. Everyone likes this home decoration, night light, and stress relief gift.
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】 - Support most universal Wireless Charging cellphone models. It provide convenience for you to place and charge your phone at the same time.
- 【Dual plus Alarm Setting】- Updated in 2020 from dual alarms to three alarms. You can either set two or three alarms to better WAKE you up. One for you and the other for your families. Forever Say no to delay. Also, it allows you to set weekday mode, which will ring only on Monday to Friday
- 【Stylish Wooden Design for Decor】- This must be the most delicate alarm clock you've ever seen. It's not only a clock, but also a great decoration for your bedroom. Stylish appearance and multiple functions make it suitable as a gifts for kids
- 【Multiple Brightness Level Adjustable】- Allows you to adjust from low to high brightness, or even turn off the LED light and keep it sound sensitive. It's user friendly at night, which won't be too harsh for your eyes.
- 【Power Cord Operated】- This clock is operated by USB to barrel power cord. ***NOT Batteries operated***
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.
- Great brain teasers wooden puzzles for adults. Fine wood cube with 27 beads threaded in a chain, lateral thinking is needed to make it a cube. Looks simple but almost impossible to build the cube. Challenge yourself and your friends
- The mind puzzle comes with nice box which is very presentable as gift. Size 8.0*8.0*8.0 CM (3.15X3.15X3.15 Inches). It is hard or difficult puzzles for adults but it is easy if you can think out of box
- This brain teaser puzzle mind game is suitable for 6 plus and grown-ups. Ideal as a gifts for men who have everything gifts for teenage boys and girls or coffee table or as desk toys for office for adults. It is a unique gifts for men and family
- The game cube with smooth and rounded edges gives a very fine and smooth therapeutic feel to your hands. It is a magic cube which can frustrate you but you will love it if you work out how to do it. Instruction illustrated on the box. We challenge you not to look at the instructions!
- Safe and Environmentally Friendly: Toy safety and children's happiness are our top priorities. We make our wooden toys with pure love and care for our children and the environment. Our wooden toys are made of sustainable wood with environmentally friendly and non-toxic paints. It conforms to EN71 and CPSA Standard and is tested and certified by International Accredited Labs. We are committed to customers’ total satisfaction.
- [ MAKE YOUR OWN CRAFT ] - This 3D Wooden Puzzle Marble Run Kits consists of 254 pre-cut small wooden pieces that need to be assembled by yourself. The whole process will take about 6 hours.
- [ EASY SELF-ASSEMBLY ] - The instructions are in English with pictures to aid in the construction, everything in the kit is clearly marked and labeled so that assembly is as enjoyable as possible
- [ CHALLENGE BUT FUN ] - The Marble run wooden puzzle is a fabulous design as home decor, as well as a big challenge for model builders. Crafting requires both patience and dexterity, which is a test to your hands and eyes.
- [ UNIQUE DECORATION ] - Great decor for your room. your visitors with this exquisite looking piece of decor that you assemble with your own hands.
- [ PERFECT GIFT ] - Create unforgettable times of working together on projects between you and your kids. A super awesome bond, great family ties. Wonderful gifts for Adults, Teens, family, friends or yourself at any occasions like birthday or anniversary.
- This is a circular rolling track marble 3d wooden puzzle model toy,unique DIY hand-assembled marble track model.
- With laser cutting technology,no burr,smooth touching,no deformation.with very tight tolerances and good machining.
- When you press the motor switch, the balls start rolling down the track one by one, and the light starts to shine around the castle.
- The package contains detailed installation instruction in English and tools (excluding 4 AA batteries).It is convenient to assemble without glue.
- Nice choice as Birthday Gifts, Christmas Gifts, Thanksgiving Day Gifts, Gifts for Back to School, Valentine's Day Gifts for boys, girls, friends, family members.
6. Another mom said that her autistic teenager loves to watch Sand Art.
- UNLEASH CREATIVITY Express yourself through the creation of sparkling glowing vibrant sand creations!
- ENCOURAGE ORIGINALITY Layer vibrant colors of sand to create eye-catching patterns and add silly sticker accessories to bring your creations to life!
- EXPLORE DIFFERENT EMBELLISHMENTS combine sand glitter glowing powder and more to create unique pieces of art!
- KIT INCLUDES 8 Sand Bottles 2 Pendant Bottles 13 Colors of Sand 1 Pack Of Glow-In-The-Dark Sand 1 Funnel 3 Packs Of Glitter 2 Skeins Of Satin Cord 1 Mixing Stick 1 Sticker Sheet Easy-To-Follow Instructions
- AGE RANGE 6 years & up
- RELAXING DYNAMIC SAND PICTURE: Every time you turn the Dynamic Sand Picture Frame, you get a different image. Looking at the falling sand and the changing different landscape scenes, you will feel particularly calm and relaxed!
- HIGH QUALITY: Lead-free high transparency glass as clear crystal as the water drop allows you to fully enjoy the beauty of quicksand. Products' detail is fine, carefully screened sand, colorful, levels clearly demarcated, flow out of the pattern of 3D effect is excellent.
- HOME&OFFICE USAGE:The Moving Sand Picture is just what you need to decorate your home or office! If you have a hard-to-buy-for friend or family member, they would love to get one of these sand art pictures to enjoy!
- SIZE-- 11.02*10.23 inch / 27*26 cm，perfect size, Can be placed horizontally or vertically for a variety of designs
- AFTER-SALE SERVICE: We promise 60-day Products Exchange and Money Back. If for some reason that you are not satisfied with our products, please contact us directly, we will certainly solve all your problems and confusion.
- CREATE STUNNING SAND ART by filling the bottles with different colors of sand.
- COMPLETE KIT – Bright color sand (2 glow in the dark) and all DIY sand art accessories included.
- PROMOTE CHILD’S CREATIVITY – Nurture your child’s imagination in creating their own artwork.
- FABULOUS GIFT IDEA for Christmas, birthdays, or any other occasions.
- HAPPINESS GUARANTEE – Your kids will LOVE this or its free!
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.
- Your Mom Deserves A Hand massage. Releases tension & cramping through the fingers & top of hand
- FSA HSA Eligible Hand Massager - No more stress on your hands or your wallet
- It's Getting Hot in Here - The optional heat therapy can reduce stiffness, swelling, & numbness
- Don't Forget The Wrist - Open design lets you slide more of your hand into the massager to the wrist
- POWER-ful long-lasting battery can recharge via the A/C adapter or with the USB cable and computer
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.
- First Edition
- Hardcover Book
- Jennings, Ken (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 544 Pages - 01/15/2008 (Publication Date) - Villard (Publisher)
- Hardcover Book
- Henry, Gabe (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 288 Pages - 09/04/2018 (Publication Date) - Chronicle Books (Publisher)
- Hardcover Book
- Jack Kreismer (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 192 Pages - 09/01/2018 (Publication Date) - Red-Letter Press (Publisher)
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. Spaghetti Headz-I got to try these at a small trade show a few years ago. Spaghetti Headz are what you see below. They are made of clay and they go into a girl’s hair quite easily. I like them because I think many times our kids struggle to fit in socially and many times that includes the latest trends. I know that many girls with autism just could not sit still long enough for one of those hair wraps on the boardwalk. But they are very popular. This is an easier way to do it and it still looks very cool. I think teen girls with autism will find this an easier way to participate in some of the trends that their non-sensory-aversive peers are doing.
- Twist It! Charm It! Rock It! Wear It! SpaghettiHeadz are the original hair twist made from eco-friendly polymer clay.
- Package Contents: Includes One 9 Inch Yellow Pink Berry Blast, One 9 Inch Pastel Pink Yellow Blue Punch, One 9 Inch Too Pink Grape Ape Colored Twist With The Following Charms: Balloon Bunch, Birthday Cake, Pink Surprise Gift Present
- Stay in place! Even the most active girls can feel confident and comfortable waving their hair back and forth due to our proprietary hair twist designs!
- Cut to size for short to long hair, bracelets, pony tails, hair wraps, educational play, creative play and more!
- Great for special occasions! From birthdays, to christmas, to hannukkah, to graduation Spaghetti Headz are the life of the party!
- [ Material ]: Hair Styling Twister Hair Bands are made of Spring and Artificial Zircon,Ultra Elastic and durable enough for long time using; Zircon has strong glass luster and yam diamond gloss, high dispersion, make your hair more shinning and charming.
- [ Lovely and Fashion Design ]: Soft bands and lightweight ornaments,it is ideal for your delicate hairs.Length with beads: approx 10.2"/ 25.9 cm.Special look to match your dressing up party costumes,a fun & stylish way to change your hairstyle.
- [ Ultra Elastic and Durable ]: It can be stretched easily and resume quickly, can hold your hair tightly and not easy to loose up, suitable for thick,fine curly or straight hair.
- [ Beautiful Decoration with Your Hair ]: Our cute and lovely rubber bands are very popuplar among women and even baby girls, little girls, Teens, Kids,etc.This 10.2 inch long women girls hair twister braiders can be used to hold your bangs, dreads, or tie off a braid, it would the best choice as a gift for them.
- [ Package Include ]: Package contains 18pcs Braided rubber hair band (3 pcs of each color), you can change the color you like on everyday. Easy-to-use and carry up to your makeup bag or handbag. You can refer to the use way in the description.
- Kids can role-play as heroic warrior The Mandalorian and play out action-packed Star Wars: The Mandalorian scenes with this detailed, LEGO brick model of The Razor Crest (75292) starship
- This fun buildable toy includes 4 LEGO minifigures: The Mandalorian, Greef Karga, Scout Trooper and the Child, plus an IG-11 LEGO figure, all with cool weapons to role-play exciting battles
- The Razor Crest has a dual LEGO minifigure cockpit, 2 spring-loaded shooters, cargo hold with opening sides/access ramps and carbonite bounty elements inside, sleeping area and detachable escape pod for creative play
- This 1,023-piece construction playset offers a challenging build and combines brilliantly with other LEGO Star Wars sets, and makes a great holiday gift or birthday present for boys and girls ages 10+
- The Razor Crest dreadnought measures over 5.5” (14 centimeter) high, 15” (38 centimeter) long and 11” (28 centimeter) wide, and it makes an eye-catching Star Wars: The Mandalorian display piece when it is not being used to transport vital cargo
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 from Shutterfly. 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 separate voice message on each page using the built-in microphone. Over 2 hours total recording time across the 20 pages, example 6 minutes per page. Re-record as many times as you wish.
- Each of the 20 pages will hold a single 5x7 inch photo in a clear pocket, (125x175mm). Each page has an individual Play/Pause button.
- Built-in speaker with volume control and an earphone socket for personal listening. Includes Lock switch to protect your precious recordings.
- Internal flash memory will save and store your recordings. The built-in USB socket will enable you transfer your voice recordings to your computer. You can also transfer audio files from your computer to each page in the album.
- Bring your memories back to life by adding a new dimension to your photographs. Create your own talking memory books and projects. A wonderful adoption gift. Also ideal for people with Dementia, Alzheimer's or Huntington's disease. Display family photos to reminisce and play daily reminders.
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, safe and non-toxic, tasteless, 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 was originally published in 2014 and 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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