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Autistic Lens

8 Essential Gifts to Get Autistic People this Holiday Season 

December 14th, 2022

Aly Laube

For Allies

No matter which holidays you celebrate around year-end, if you have a gift to give to an autistic person in your life, these are great options to consider. 
Fidget toys  

Squeezable toys, spinners, pin art, simulated aquariums — there’s so much to choose from when you’re getting fidget toys. And autistic people tend to love using them! If you already know what kind your loved one favours, going with that type is a safe bet. Otherwise, choosing the “right” toy can be hard, so go with variety if you can, and get a few different types. 

Fidget jewelry 

Fidget rings and necklaces, and chewelry — or jewelry you can chew on — offer a more discreet option for autistic people who aren’t out as autistic, who are high masking, or who aren’t in situations where it’s safe to be visibly autistic. Many of us appreciate having these kinds of tools as an option, but it can be hard to justify the expense on our own, which makes fidget jewelry a great gift option. 

Noise-cancelling headphones 

These are a staple for autistic people, and they’re expensive! If you can afford to get a nicer gift, look for a pair over $100 and get a warranty so the present will be long-lasting. A nice pair of headphones can totally change an autistic person’s life by giving them a way to block out overwhelming stimulus. But some people might need to pick their own for the sake of comfort, so be careful before you throw out that receipt. 

Meal subscriptions 

Sometimes eating can be hard. Help an autistic adult in your circles out by getting a few meal subscription boxes — maybe even a full season or years’ worth, if you have that kind of money. If not, consider sending your own pre-prepared meals, maybe with your loved ones’ special interest foods in it. If they really like it, maybe you can do more to support them in the future. 

Housecleaning visits 

Sometimes, the chores have been piling up for so long, we need someone to clean it all away so we can reset our rituals and get back into a productive flow. For some, it’s hard to summarize how difficult it can be just to find time and energy to clean the house. Housecleaning visits can be incredibly helpful and take a huge burden off our shoulders. 

Weighted blankets/stuffies 

A classic coping tool for autistic people, weighted blankets can be calming and comforting during times of distress. Now, you can get them at your average lifestyle shop like Indigo, or you can order them online. Go with a bigger size blanket for adults; ideally, big enough for a twin-sized bed at least. Or look for weighted stuffed animals and pads. 

Massage/foam rollers 

A lot of autistic people suffer from muscle tension and pain. Help them relax by gifting them a massage or foam roller fit for your loved ones’ problem areas. If they have lots of hand or foot cramps, a smaller roller is likely to get lots of use. Bigger ones work better for larger muscle areas, like your back or thighs. Some even have heating and cooling options! 

Bean bag furniture 

Some autistic folks have a hard time staying in one position or sitting like allistic people do. They also might sit in unusual-looking positions to self-stimulate. Bean bag furniture is great for all kinds of sitting positions, and you can buy them in a variety of shapes for different bodies. They can be pricy, especially if you want to go with super-stretchy brands like Yogibo, so choose carefully and consider checking with your autistic loved ones about which fabrics and firmness they do and don’t like. 

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