Holiday Gifts for Children with Sensory-Processing Difficulties

There are many types of sensory-friendly toys, clothing, and other items. Here, we’ll cover a few to help you get started in your search. If you don’t know what kinds of gifts an individual child may appreciate, it might help to ask one of their immediate family members; they will be able to give you a better sense of their interests and aversions.

Weighted Blanket

Many kids with sensory-processing difficulties sleep better with a weighted blanket. SensaCalm sells weighted blankets in a wide variety of fun patterns: Marvel Avengers, Finding Dory, Prehistoric Dinos, and many more! These blankets are made with Polyfill for “a comfortable pillow-like feel” and can be machine washed and dried. Please note that weighted blankets are not safe for infants.

Pet Massagers

These pet massagers from Fun and Function calm children with localized vibration. You can get “Lady Buzz” or “Tickles the Turtle” for $9.99, or the pair for $17.99.

Dr. Bloom’s Chewable Jewels

Some children with sensory-processing challenges like to have something to chew on when they feel agitated. These bracelet and necklace sets were invented by a dentist; they are free of phthalates, lead, BPA, PVC, and latex, and can be washed in the top rack of a dishwasher.

Soothing Ocean Waves CD

This CD from Therapy Shoppe, Inc. blends ocean sounds with piano music. The sellers note that it could be especially useful for focusing during tasks or relaxing before bed.

Dr. Suess’s Beginner Books Collection

Some children on the Autism spectrum enjoy books with predictive patterns or rhyming schemes. Dr. Seuss books fit the bill, and are especially entertaining. This collection includes five of his most popular books: The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop, and Fox in Socks.

Emotions Putty

This putty from Fun and Function provides children with both tactile and visual stimulation. If placed in the refrigerator or freezer before use, it will change from purple to blue as it is manipulated. It is also useful for children who have low muscle tone in their hands. The putty is free of gluten, casein, latex, and soy.

Target Adaptive Clothing

Target recently launched a line of clothing suitable for children with sensory issues. These clothes have flat seams and no tags, and many of the items are also designed with children who have limited mobility in mind. The clothes come in a wide variety of sizes and enviable styles, such as this shirt with bobsledding penguins or this patterned rainbow tee.

Mini Light Spinner

This toy from National Autism Resources has rings of light that change with the push of a button. Lights will appear solid and then begin to flicker like dots. It also includes a removable cord, so that it can be worn as a necklace.

Fidget Set

This set includes 15 objects to occupy the hands of restless children. They were designed with teacher feedback, and are all quiet enough for classroom use. The fidget set includes stretchy frogs, a tactile atom ball, a massage roller pen, and more.

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