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Choosing a Toy For Autistic Children | The Essential Guide To Autism

Choosing a Toy For Autistic Children

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Anyone shopping for a child knows it is hard to find something that the child will love and that the parents won’t mind having in their home. However, when it comes to buying a toy for autistic children, it is so much harder to make the right choice. One of the most important thing anyone searching for the right toy should remember is that the age listings on games and toys are a guideline, but they are rarely right for children with autism. If you aren’t sure about what age group that child might fall into on a developmental level, you should be sure to ask the parents. As long as you keep that information in mind, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding something that works, but there are other things to keep in mind as well.

When looking at toys, you have to consider quite a few things. The parents will appreciate that you put thought into what to buy. Some children with autism will rip just about anything that is made of paper, so you may not want to buy anything that could easily be shredded. Look for toys that are very sturdy and will take some rough play. Also, some children don’t work well with toys that have a lot of pieces. If you can find something that has one or two parts for children such as these, you have found something suitable. Also, small pieces can be choking hazards for many children, so ask before buying anything with small, removable pieces.

Many autistic children love to play alone. This is not always the case, but it is for the majority. It might depend on the developmental level of the child, but even some high functioning children prefer to play alone. If you can find something they can do on their own without having to have more than one player, or without having an adult assist them, you may have found a great toy for them. Toys that have repetitive motions and actions might also be a hit, as some autistic children get caught up in that sort of play. The suitability of bright colors or vivid textures can depend on the child as some have an aversion to certain things. Ask the parents for guidance.

When it comes to children who are higher functioning, there are some great educational toys out there. When you buy a toy for autistic kids who are learning things, you should keep their level of learning in mind. There are toys that help with spelling, counting, subtraction and addition, and some that help with writing and sounds. Don’t buy something that is beyond their current learning level as this can just frustrate them and they’ll lose interest quickly. Music is not really a toy, but many autistic children love music. A DVD or CD just might be a great present that they would love.

You shouldn’t have too hard a time finding a toy for autistic children if you keep the function and developmental level of the child in mind. You may find the perfect toy, but remember, well thought and age-appropriate toys are sometimes ignored and unused. You shouldn’t take it personally. Buying a toy for any child is a little hit and miss and the same goes for autistic children. When it doubt, ask the parents for guidance, as they know their child the best. 

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