When buying toys for children, be it a present or random surprise, we've always considered the child and their abilities before taking into account the labels of an illness or handicap. It's always been our way to see the child and not what ails them, but for those who might be shopping this holiday season for a classmate or someone you don't have a great deal of contact with, wikihow has a few words of advice on this issue:
• Look for toys that stimulate their senses. Many children with autism have sensory challenges, particularly tactile defensiveness. Toys can be an excellent way to introduce tactile sensations in a low-key, non-threatening way.
• Choose toys that help social interaction development. Teaching all children cooperation through toys is an important rite of growing up. For autistic children, socially interactive toys are even more important for helping them to develop coping mechanisms when interacting with the wider world.
• Find toys that help to develop motor skills. It's really no different from what all children need but you will probably have to face tactile defensiveness, inability to balance, fears, etc.
• Always be considerate of the level of autism. Less complicated toys are better for children who are low-functioning autistic; simple push-button, open and use toys are best.
Check wikihow for a expanded reasoning behind the noted points above. Do you worry about how a toy will challenge a child before purchasing it for someone else? Or do you think that sort of thing should be left to the parents? Share your thoughts in the comments below.