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!
Early Development Toys
“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
Cause and Effect Toys
“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
“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.”
Hygiene Products Make Great Stocking Stuffers!
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.