<If you’re searching for the perfect gift for a child with Autism, ADHD, or Sensory Processing Difficulties, check out the Twiddle®Nathan. This is a sponsored post and contains affiliate links for your convenience.>
Woohoo! Another amazing find!
You know when you are looking for the perfect gift and you just don’t know what to get?
It’s the worst.
So here’s what happened to me recently: I’d been working for over a year with a family with a young boy diagnosed with Autism.
Then, they told me they were moving. I had grown very attached to this sweet, loving family and their bright-eyed seven-year-old son, Gary, who had difficulties with attention and sensory processing. He had achieved so much in the past year. We just “connected”.
So I wanted to find a little “good luck and goodbye” gift for Gary. But it had to be something he would really like. Something he would willingly play with, and not stim on. This would be tough.
SEARCHING FOR THE PERFECT GIFT FOR A CHILD WITH AUTISM and Attention Difficulties
First of all, Gary’s preferred downtime activity was the ipad or the TV. He would repetitively tap and hit the screen, jumping, making noises and getting excited when his favorite visual stim would occur (due to his tapping).
As an OT, I feel strongly that kids need toys that stimulate them, not that they “stim on”. Of course, it’s hard to get kids to stop stimming- I’m not in lalaland.
BUT – if I’m providing the toy, I prefer it to be educational or developmental in some way. I can’t help it. I’ve got to try.
So, after dismissing a million of my favorite toys, I decided on the PERFECT gift for Gary.
(I recently discovered Twiddles and wrote another post about them. Twiddles are soft, therapeutic activity/comfort aids that assist caregivers and professionals specializing in children with autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorders, developmental disabilities, and more. )
But the TwiddleNathan is a different, more recent version. It’s lightly weighted and features high-grade fidgets attached with ribbon loops that snap. This enables you to switch around and substitute fidgets to keep it fresh or to include a skill that you’ve been working on.
I watched Gary take the TwiddleNathan from the gift bag with apprehension in my heart. I didn’t want it to be just another toy that he tossed aside and dismissed. He immediately began to touch and play with the zippered pouch. I felt nervous. Will he stay engaged? Was that it? Just a few minutes of manipulation?
Nope! This was the perfect gift for a child with Autism
Next, I showed him how he could stick his hand through the middle to play with the sensory ball hidden inside. That was it. He tore it from my hands and stuck his left arm through like it was a sleeve. He played with the crinkle pouch with his other hand and then slid it off his arm. My heart sunk into my stomach. Was he done with it?
But what he did next made me and Grandma burst out laughing.
You see, we’d been working on self-care skills. Specifically, learning how to put our own socks on. First, he put rubber bands around my foot. Then, he put them around his foot. Soon, he was putting his own sock on.
So, I almost fell over when Gary stuck his foot through the Twiddle and pulled it up like a pant leg! He loved it. He kept it on his leg for a while longer, playing with the fidgets, and trying to open the snaps. That was another thing we’d been working on. Then he took it off and tried out the Chewy. The Chewy is a satisfying silicone “key” with textured knubs on one end. It’s perfect for sensory kids who love to put things in their mouths.
The perfect gift for a child with Autism or ADHD
I was thrilled to find an engaging, appropriate toy that encouraged Gary to functionally play and use his hands. I can tell that it’s going to get a LOT of use- good thing it’s so durable. It’s machine washable, too!
*Another amazing factor in my decision to give the TwiddleNathan is that the company pledges to donate 50 cents of every Twiddle sold to the Autism Society of America. How AWESOME is that?!
More about Standard Twiddles:
- Includes a variety of removable and interchangeable gadgets such textured ribbons, wooden beads on a loop, a crackly pouch, and a Velcro® pull tab.
- Machine washable and dryable- just detach the gadgets first
- Flexibility – switch the gadgets around to keep it fresh, or substitute your child’s preferred gadgets for the interior orbit ball
- Includes a pocket for “favorite items” or necessities such as tissues
- Endorsed by “ableplay.org” and IBCCES as a Certified Autism Resource
- Safety-tested by to meet U.S. and European standards
Throughout the rest of my last session with Gary, he continually looked for and reached for the Twiddle Nathan. I actually had to “hide it” so we could finish working on our goals for the session.
I have to say, I was impressed with how engaged he was. He genuinely liked it and enjoyed playing with it. Finding the perfect gift for a child with Autism can be tough, but this was it! It was really hard to say goodbye to this sweet adorable little boy and his family. I’m hoping the Twiddle will help him remember me, too. Goodbyes stink.
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