Gifts for Children with Disabilities

Gifts for Children with Disabilities


We are so thrilled to bring you a gift guide devoted to gifts for children with disabilities or developmental delays. This post is thanks in part to a longtime reader who came to me with this great post idea!

Leigh Ann Cook is a mom of two and board certified speech pathologist in Tyler, Texas. Her preschool aged daughter was diagnosed with a developmental delay at 6 months old. With a love of gift giving like me, Leigh Ann struggled with the holidays for several years, focusing on the toys and gifts her daughter wouldn’t and couldn’t enjoy.

But this year her perspective has changed in such a sweet way. Leigh Ann is focusing on the things her daughter can enjoy and giving herself permission to give the gifts she wants to give, even though how it is received might look or be enjoyed differently than she had originally thought. Leigh Ann also felt called to reach out to me to bring her sentiment to others:

“Hopefully, this list will inspire parents, friends, and family to move past any obstacle they might have when considering a toy for a child with any type of difference or disability. As always, the greatest gift you could give any family is to let them know that you enjoy and love their child.”

On this list you will find something for the little girl with a prosthetic leg or the sweet boy with hearing aids. You will find something for the autistic tween or teen or the child with down syndrome.

Leigh Ann worked so hard on this list to help parents “who want to give their child a room where they can safely swing and bounce for hours after school” and for “families who might still be a little overwhelmed by this new normal, but want to give their children a fun and magical Christmas gift.”

I love what Leigh Ann wrote to me in an email when asking for a guide for families like hers. “It is so easy to see all the ways a child is different.  Hopefully, when family and friends see this list, they will see that these are gifts designed to accommodate differences, but most importantly celebrate the alikeness of children!”

Gross-Motor Sensory Play is Always a Hit for Any Age or Stage!

Indoor/Outdoor Platform Swing
So Fun!
Two Person Mini Trampoline
Great for Improving Balance!
Rody Horse
Targets Core Strengthening and Provides Vestibular and Proprioceptive in Such a Fun Way!
Helps Develop Balance, Coordination and Motor Skills

Early Development Toys

All About Me! Personal Photo Book
Lovely Personalized Gift to Teach the Names of Family Members and Friends
Soft Sensory Toy
A Fun Toy to Capture Attention!
Tummy Time Toy
Would Fit Well on a Wheelchair Tray or Small Table
See Touch Feel Board Book
A Great Book for Sensory Play

op Blocs Farm Animals
Simple Sensory Play
A Great Gross Motor Toy for Children
Really Big Words for Kids
Fun Book for Letter Recognition
My First Zoo
Sweet Little Animals-- Great for Wheelchair Trays!

“Gift giving for children with cognitive and motor delays can seem a little tricky. The child may have limited interests or limited ability to interact with toys.” When buying for a child with developmental delays, purchase the toy based on developmental stage, rather than age.

Visual and Fine Motor Toys

Melissa and Doug Water Wow!
Just add water!
Agirlgle Building Blocks Stacking Toys
Motivates Creativity and Promotes Patience
Guidecraft Jr. Rainbow Blocks
Hand-Eye Coordination and Visual Perception
Lego Duplo Blocks
Encourages Creative Play with So Many Possibilities

Build-a-Robot Emotional Toy
Help Teach the Importance of Emotions
VTech Sort and Discover Drum
Help Build Fine Motor Skills
Velcro Toss and Catch
This Classic Toy Makes Playing Catch Easier!
Geometric Insert Puzzle
Helps to Cultivate Children's Cognition of Size and Shape

Provides Relaxation and Sensory Stimulation
A Visually Stimulating Toy!
Vtech Busy Learniners Activity Cube
Light up and singing toys keep a child engaged and motivated to keep playing!
Count and Sort Stacking Tower
Colorful Tactile Exploration Toy

Dado Squares
An Unique and Interactive Building Toy
Encourages Fine Motor Skills and Shape Learning
GeoMagic Mosaics
A Great Toy for Problem Solving and Creativity
Green Toys Build-a-Bouquet
A Unique Take on a Building Toy

Easy To Hold Crayon Set
To Make Coloring Easier!
Adaptive Art Aid
Attach this Tool to Art Supplies
Weighted Stuffed Animal
Weighted Objects Promote Safety and Comfort During Rest
Bearaby Weighted Blanket
Top-Rated Weighted Blanket for Children

Cause and Effect Toys

Tangle Therapy
Fidget Toy for Relaxing the Mind and Strengthening Hand Muscles
Rainbow Music Desk Bells
Encourages Hand Eye Coordination
An Easy Musical Toy
Muchkin Mozart Magic Cube
Inspires Musical Creativity

Imaginary Play

Food Groups Wooden Pretend Foods
Introduces the Basics of Nutrition
Sweet Manners Tea Set
Hands-On, Interactive Fun!
Sensory Friendly Dress-Up Costumes
Soft, Machine Washable Costumes
Wheelchair for Dolls
Customize Your American Girl Doll for Your Child's Lifestyle

Barbie with Rolling Wheelchair
Find a Barbie that Looks Like Your Child!
Spell Your Name Train Set
A Fun and Personalized Toy to Play With
Brio Sound Engine
A Great Toy to Pair with a Book!
For the Truck Lover

“I often hear family and friends express that Tweens and teens more severely effected by developmental delays can be the most difficult to gift.  I wanted to take on that challenge head on!  What teen wouldn’t love a room make over with easy zip up bedding?  Or a chair that spins? Or glow in the dark fish!”

Sensory Friendly Room Makeovers

Crate & Barrel Toddler/Preschool Chair
The Cutest Designs!
Star Light Rotating Projector
These are Always Captivating
Bean Bag Swivel Chair
Stylish, Comfortable Chair that Spins
Bedding Sheets and Coverlet that Zip for Fast, Easy Bed Making

“For a time, I struggled with the idea of getting her sentimental jewelry.  I wondered if she would understand, but this year, we gifted her a James Avery charm bracelet and have it in a frame on her wall.  It’s such an easy, special way to allow others to give her a thoughtful gift.  And, she loves the way it jingles.”

Functional Accessories

New Balance Footwear
Zippers, Velcro and Removable Insoles Help Accommodate Orthotic Inserts, SMOs and AFOs
New Balance Footwear
Appaman Adaptive from Zappos Makes the Cutest Adaptive Clothing for Boys and Girls!
Adaptive Clothing
Tommy Hilfiger is Highly Rated for Adaptive Clothing
G-Tube Covers
Get cute designs they'll love!

James Avery Charm Bracelet
Give a Thoughtful Charm for Special Achievements and Occasions
Add A Pearl Necklace
A Special Gift Any Girl Can Enjoy
Trapper Hat
A Fun Accessory for Boys!
Adorable Raincoats
Always Ready to Play in the Rain!

Hygiene Products Make Great Stocking Stuffers!

The Honest Company Calming Bubble Bath
Relieves Tension and Promotes Calming and Peaceful Sleep.
Philosophy Purity Cleansing Wipes
One Step Face Cleansing Wipes
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy
Soothing, Hydrating Lip Treatment for Dry, Chapped Lips
Avene Facial Skin Recovery Cream
Ultra Moisturizing Lotion

Clinique On the Spot Acne Gel
Effective and Gentle Spot Treatment
Mustella Stelatopia Emollient Cream for Eczema-Prone Skin
Makes Skin So Soft and Smells Clean and Fresh!
Mustela Gentle Cleansing Gel
Makes Sponge Baths Easy and Smells So Clean! Great for Any Age.
Fluoride Free Toothpaste
Promoting Safe Hygiene for All Ability Levels

Experience Gifts

Disney+ Subscription
All Their Favorite Shows in One Place!
Swimming Lessons
Find Classes for All Ability Levels
Horseback Riding Lessons
Naturally Therapeutic Yet Expensive so Makes a Great Gift.
Zoo Passes
A Favorite for All Children! Include a Toy Animal or Book!

Clothing (Including Sensory Friendly and Adaptive)

Unique, stylish outfits and accessories are easy ways to help your child connect with peers and children around them.  Statement outfits allow for easy compliments from others and your child will be blessed by the extra attention and smiles!

Wonderfully Made Clothing is a line started by a mom with a daughter with Down Syndrome. When her daughter sized out of their favorite children’s brands she couldn’t find a well-fitting, sweet line that met her daughter’s needs. So she started one! They now have clothing for children and adults.

Adaptive and sensory-friendly (no tags!) clothing brands include Tommy Hilfiger, Cat & Jack at Target, and Jumping Beans at Kohl’s.  Buttons and zippers are replaced with magnets for easy on and off and features access for medication ports and feeding tubes.

Thank you, Leigh Ann for sharing this wonderful ideas! You can browse more great gift ideas on our holiday gift guide.

Leigh Ann Cook is Board Certified Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist in Tyler, Texas. She has been practicing in East Texas for nearly 15 years.  Specialities include child feeding and swallowing disorders, autism, rare genetic disorders, & child speech and language development.


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3 thoughts on “Gifts for Children with Disabilities

  1. We love Billy shoes and they just came out with a fabulous Ugg Style boot too!
    Some great gift ideas here.

  2. Thank you so much for this post. Last week my son was diagnosed with a serious reading/processing disorder. My husband and I are struggling, but we know God is in control and he has a very special plan for our sweet boy’s life. As I stood on the book aisle at Target over the weekend, I cried thinking that my son will likely never be able to read like other children. I cried for all that was lost. Now I want to focus on what he CAN do! This post is the breath of fresh air I needed. Thank you for the blessing. Merry Christmas!