Special Gifts For Special Families

What do exhausted, stressed out parents really want? What’s an age appropriate gift for a child with autism? Is there an inexpensive toy suitable for a child with fine motor delays? Can certain games help with speech and language development and if so, are they actually fun? All good questions I’ll try to answer below—my merry gift to you this retail festive season.

Parents, especially those parenting a child with special needs, rarely take the time to pamper themselves. The holidays are a perfect opportunity for you to gift them something that forces them to take a moment. Yes, I said “force them.” I know this from experience. #stubborn

Presents To Pamper Parents:

An assortment of Craft Beers or a nice bottle of wine. Need I explain further? 



Happiness Is… t-shirts (great for the whole family actually). Proudly Canadian, soft, great quality, and positive. Happy is always the goal. 



I’m in love with this SFDesigns custom jewelry. “Celebrate love. Hold onto hope. Honour your connections.” ?  A ring or a pendant hand stamped with an encouraging phrase or kids’ names would be lovely. 


Special parents can be painfully practical. Since we’re often at a loss for time, practical and useful is always appreciated.

Practical Presents for Parents:

You can’t rock mom to sleep or tickle dad’s back until he drifts off. But, you can help them get a better night’s sleep. Give them an eye mask to help block out the light, a white noise machine, a water pillow, or a quality pillow slip that stays fresh and cool even on the most restless nights. 



Sweet and personalized photo gifts like keychains, mugs or playing cards from staples.ca are inexpensive and thoughtful, but useful gifts. (Santa’s bringing me a keychain and a “Forever In Mom Genes” phone case. Thank you Santa!). 


A gift card for a quality take-out restaurant. It’s a real treat to pick up a ready-made dinner, especially on busy days when cooking is just too… ugh. 


A loaded coffee card for a local coffee shop for days when life is totally fuelled by caffeine.


Sometimes it’s hard to know what to buy for a child with physical or developmental needs. When in doubt, ask the parents what might be appropriate. Here are a few ideas. 

Gifts for Kids With Cognitive, Motor, and/or Speech Delays:

Puzzles like this Melissa and Doug Sound Puzzle.



This company is cool. I haven’t ordered one of these books yet, but I’ve heard great things about the “Lost Name” books and the “Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home” book (the last page is a Google map of YOUR house!)


Interactive books that make sounds or have flaps like these Let’s Talk Books are great. 


A photo book—Avery had one of these as a baby and she still loves it! The handle is chewable and since babies and many kids with autism chew, it's handy. We put family pics in ours, but if the child likes dinosaurs or trucks or whatever, the parents can switch up the photos. I can't remember where I bought it but I want to say Shopper's Drugmart or Walmart maybe? The brand isn't on the book anywhere but it might be "Sassy."

My daughter got one of these photo books as a toddler and she still loves it! The handle is chewable and since babies and many kids with autism chew, it’s handy. We put family pics in ours, but if a child likes dinosaurs or trucks or whatever, parents can switch up the photos. I can’t remember where I bought it…Shopper’s Drugmart or Walmart maybe? The brand isn’t on the book anywhere but “Sassy” makes a similar book.



Rainbow shakers are soothing to watch and listen to.



A water wheel, foam letters, bubbles and floaty toys make bath time interactive and enjoyable.


Tactile activities like this “Let’s Go Finger Fishing Game” help with fine motor skills, coordination and speech.



A special companion doll or accessories to go with a favourite doll are sweet. My daughter loves her Maplelea doll and takes her everywhere. #BFFs



Puzzle towers and story cubes help with problem solving, sequencing and story telling skills. There are also lots of board games like “Headbands” for example, that help with inferencing, vocabulary building and speech development. 

Happy gift giving! 

Feel free to message me any time if you’re shopping for a child with special needs and you’d like specific gift suggestions based on age and/or need. 

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