Gifts for Autistic Children – a Guide for 2016

Boy with Bluetooth headphones and sensory toys which make good gifts for autistic children. Photo by Someone's Mum.

Buying gifts for autistic children can be quite a difficult task, particularly if you are a family member that doesn’t see the child every day.

Biggest recently celebrated his fourth birthday and we knew right away that traditional presents may not be the right choices. Children on the autism spectrum differ greatly, and so generalising is not always helpful. However, as Biggest received so many gifts that he loved this year, we thought it might be helpful to share his presents as a guide for gifts for autistic children.

Sensory Toys and Gifts for Autistic Children

Infinity Mirror Tunnel

LED Rotating Crystal Kaleidoscope

Infinity Spinning Top by Funtime Gifts

Liquid Showers Calming Sensory Timer

Sensory toys - gifts for autistic children - a guide

Sensory Timer

I can’t stress how much Biggest loves these sensory items. They aren’t traditional toys and therefore aren’t intended for very small children. This does mean that use of them needs to be supervised. However, he was absolutely mesmerised by them for several hours after opening them. Since then, he has returned to them every day. He finds the sensory stimulation extremely calming and so they are invaluable to me as a parent too. I think I might be carrying the rotating kaleidoscope around in my handbag whenever we go out anywhere!

Other Gifts

Philips Bluetooth Headphones

Biggest adores his headphones, as you can see above. He uses them for his iPod, tablet and DVD player and they calm him down like no other piece of equipment can. They tune out the chaotic, slightly frightening world and cocoon him in his own, safe space. But he did get caught up in the wires quite frequently…

His new Bluetooth headphones remove this problem, meaning the headphones are an even better tool for helping to calm him

Philips Bluetooth Headphones

Amazon Kids’ Fire Tablet

This may be Biggest’s favourite object in the whole world. Not only is it extremely child-friendly and robust, it also comes with the guarantee that if your little one breaks it, they will replace at no cost. The predictability of computers and tablets can often be a comfort to children on the spectrum and Biggest is no exception. He uses his tablet for games, music and videos. While we are careful to make sure he gets plenty of fresh air and other activities, tablets are a part of his daily routine and that is unlikely to change any time soon!

Biggest is playing some excellent games from EduGuru in the above picture – EduGuru Maths for 3-5 year-olds and the upcoming EduGuru English – released next month. Look out for a review coming soon.

Boy using Maths app on tablet by Someone's Mum

Brainstorm Toys Space Torch and Projector

Space has been an obsession of Biggest’s for some time. In addition to this, he loves anything with sensory stimulation, particularly bright lights and colours, just like the sensory toys above. The space torch combines these two passions brilliantly!


The images projected by the torch are truly beautiful – I must admit I was quite mesmerised by them too. The torch would make a great little stocking-filler for any sensory seeker or space enthusiast as it is an absolute bargain at only £5.

Space torch images - gift guide for autistic children

We hope this might give some friends and relatives some inspiration when buying gifts for autistic children. As mentioned above, all children on the spectrum, and indeed any children, are different. However, if you know a sensory seeker, one of these gifts many well be a hit with them.

A guide to gifts for autistic children.

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11 thoughts on “Gifts for Autistic Children – a Guide for 2016

  1. This is a great product review round up. I’ve been wondering about whether that space torch was worth it for a while now. I’ll try to come back and click through if I decide to buy one

  2. Fantastic list! My son would never wear headphones but I might try again now he’s a bit older (10) He loves lights though and is happiest in his room with his bubble tube and glow ball dazzling away in the dark. A x

    1. No. These are the actual gifts my son received. I have no idea what the other list you mention is. I have never seen it. There are no video games on the list – only a tablet with educational apps. However, my son finds great comfort in playing predictable games and apps on his tablet and it is a great to resource in managing distress and debilitating meltdowns. I am unapologetic about letting him use them when he needs them and about recommending them to other parents who may find them helpful.

      1. Amen! If it makes them happy and calm and no harm done then give them what they want.❤️ My daughter is non verbal and I can’t fathom how she feels not being able to verbalize her feelings. She wears a helmet to keep her safe during the tantrums and I don’t care who stares or scoffs at the iPad in her hands or the stroller that she’s “too big” for or even the pacifier she still uses at times to soothe her (she’s 8). Most important thing is to love our children and be a positive force in their life. I am a mom on the spectrum as well.❤️ Unapologetic

    2. What a disrespectful, unproductive comment. I thought the autism community one was supposed to be one that encouraged and supported other parents in whatever methods they find help their children, and also encouraged the understanding that not all autistic children fit into a “box” – some (like the author’a son) find apps stimulating and something that can soothe them in times of need, other’s find it overstimulating. Just like any child.

      Think before you type such a silly comment!

  3. Hello, I am writing on behalf of Joy center for Autism in Ethiopia. We recently received a grant that will allow us to buy our children some of the technological learning tools they need and whilst browsing for fitting options i found this article. We are really interested i purchasing the ear phones and tablet but the problem is that we don’t get good internet access and have no way of online financial activity so if we were to purchase this tablet we won’t be able to purchase more apps in a years time. so are there such helpful tablets you know of that come with pre-installed learning apps so can make a one time purchase and we wont need consistent upgrades. Your input is really important so thank you in advance for your help.

  4. These are some great ideas, thank you! Headphones are unfortunately quite a consistently good idea for gifts simply because they don’t seem to last. That said, I don’t think I’ve tried Philips ones.

    Also, a little box of sensory toys can be quite inexpensive to put together and one of the lovely things about autism (sometimes!) is that a lot of autistic people can get an enormous number of hours of use out of something quite simple, if they take to it. So a gift that’s enjoyed will be really, really enjoyed :).

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