As with any kid, there’s no magical way to know if a child with an autism spectrum disorder will love a particular item, but you can improve your chances by putting a little extra thought into your gift choice.
The first thing to note is that buying for a child with autism doesn’t have to be all that different from buying for a child who doesn’t have autism, says licensed mental health counselor Maria Davis-Pierre, whose practice specializes in providing support to parents with children on the autism spectrum. Davis-Pierre also has a daughter with autism.
“Many children on the spectrum like most of the toys neurotypical children enjoy,” she tells SheKnows. “I would simply advise getting a toy that matches their developmental age/stage.”
While chronological and cognitive appropriateness is important, a key factor is the child’s personality and interests, says Ahren Hoffman, director of education and training at the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association. “All kids should get toys that fit their personality,” she tells SheKnows. “Don’t overthink your shopping trip. Just consider the child’s needs and interests. And if in doubt, ask their parents or caregivers for advice.”