Christmas is upon us and it’s the season of giving! Sometimes it can be hard to find a gift for someone which isn’t too generic (great, another smellies set and a pair of socks… I’m stocked up for another year!) so it’s a good idea to give more useful gifts. For autistic people, you’re usually tempted to buy them something related to their special interest, which don’t get me wrong, that’s great! But if you want to avoid buying someone something they may already have (because if they’re a collector when it comes to their special interest, odds are they have it!) then why not think more about something that could be useful? There’s so many things out there than can make life more accessible for us autistics. I tried looking for a gift guide for ideas for what to ask family for this year because I’m stuck for ideas, but the guides for autistic people are aimed mainly for kids and teenagers. Spoiler alert; we don’t stop being autistic once we turn 18! So I’ve taken matters into my own hands. I present to you an (adult friendly) autism Christmas gift guide!
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Perfect for those with auditory processing disorder or any other sound issues, a pair of noise cancelling headphones means you can really escape from discerning different sounds that they hear in their natural environment. For me, being somewhere like a busy city can be difficult, so headphones are perfect. Plus, many people even without an issue towards sound just love music and find a great escape during anxious periods.
Available from Amazon for £59.99
Chewing is quite a common form of stimming but usually, people market chewing aids for children. As an adult chewer, I love the concept of “chewellery” which is chewable jewellery. It’s more discreet and safe to chew on when needed. I have this lovely relam ring necklace which looks really nice but is also very accessible when needed. There’s lots of options to suit your preference and fashion sense, but owning this one myself, I cannot recommend it enough!
Available from Chewigem for £13.95
Sequin Swipe Cushion
Another great stimming gift is something with swipeable sequins! This is a trend I’ve seen in the form of many things; t-shirts, notebooks, there’s so much! I really like this iridescent pillow because when I’m not swiping the sequins back and forth, it’s a pretty cute bedroom accessory.
Available from George @ Asda for £7.00
Weighted blankets can be super helpful for those with sensory disorders as weighted therapy can help increase Serotonin and Melatonin levels overnight. They can also help anyone with ASD to relax and calm down after a stressful period or even after meltdowns or even with anxiety and sleep disorders. They can typically be quite pricey but this one seems to be quite affordable and a great gift for someone this Christmas.
Available from Amazon for £45.99
Things like fairy lights in your bedroom can be a great visual stimulant for those who are visual seekers. They can also be great to create a calming environment. I remember growing up I had heart shaped fairy lights like the typical 90s child and I loved turning off my big light and switching them on. They made me feel more comfortable to watch TV or even to fall asleep as opposed to the light completely off because they were so relaxing.
Available from ASOS for £11.99
Super strength phone case
Some autistic people have poor motor skills. For instance, I seem to drop about 90% of absolutely anything that’s in my hands. Why? Well, I don’t knows the science behind it, but I do know that because my phone is my safety blanket, it’s pretty much always in my hand, so I’m always dropping it. Now a smartphone isn’t as robust as a Nokia (literally, those things were indestructible. Sigh, we never knew how good we had it pre-advanced technology.) so I’ve ended up having a lot of cracked screens, which is not fun and are costly to fix, especially when certain phone companies charge over £100 if it isn’t an airline crack, meaning you go to some sketchy phone shop who charge half the price but now your phone screen isn’t from the company who made your phone so any future problem you may have had fixed for free will now cost a small fortune.
My friend introduced me to the iBlason case which I had for my last phone and honestly, it is a life saver. I’ve dropped my phone many times since purchasing it and not a scratch! I’ve since had a new phone and ordered a new case from the same company. The case is quite bulky for some phone types such as the iPhone 8, but for the iPhone X it seems as though the company has made a much sleeker design but still works just as well.
Sure, it’s not the prettiest case in the world, but would you rather a case with a kooky quote on it and a cracked screen or a less-attractive-but-more-practical case and an intact phone? Sometimes you have to pick your battles and the latter is my choice, as I’m sure it is for many of you!
Available from Amazon from £17.99, depending on your phone type
It can be super overwhelming to have appointments, deadlines and things to remember. Sometimes I end up having a meltdown from not being able to visually see what I need to do in the week ahead and often end up in a hot mess! Therefore, a planner like this one physically shows you the week ahead and you can jot down things you need to do on specific days as well as make notes of things you should remember about the following week. I also love the graph box on the bottom right because you can use it for anything. Additional notes, charts for progress or perhaps finance such as saving, or if you want to doodle! You can leave it on your desk or stick it up on the wall with some tack to remind you of everything in plain sight.
Available from John Lewis for £7.50
I know, I know – toothpaste isn’t the most exciting present and may seem a little off-putting at first (“Merry Christmas! Clean ya teeth, please!”) but hear me out; unflavoured toothpaste is a nightmare to get ahold of and is often more expensive than your typical toothpaste. For many people – me included – toothpaste with the typical minty flavour can cause problems. For some, it can create a ‘hot’ or ‘burning’ sensation or can just be too overwhelming in terms of taste. Listen, if you know someone who struggles in terms of strong tastes or have mentioned toothpaste being a problem, just get them this – they’ll thank you for it! (A subtle hint to any family or friends reading this and want to get me something… hi!)
Available from Amazon for £6.58 for two boxes
Some autistic people have visual processing disorders where the bright lights can be too much to cope with, so a nice pair of sunglasses can really come to great use. Your best bet would be going for the full block dark lenses instead of the light or faded lenses to ensure they are really able to help prevent the light from getting in. Tip: if your recipient wears glasses, try and get their prescription and order a great pair from Glasses Direct, where you can get two pairs from £19.00
Available from New Look for £8.99
Despite fidget toys becoming the latest craze across the playground, they were actually created as stimulating aids for different people such as autistics. A lot of autistic people or those diagnosed with ADHD or similar tend to fidget a lot and it can help us concentrate. I had a fidget cube earlier this year and they are absolutely fantastic. I tend to fidget in anxious situations and I can remember having a meeting with a teacher in school and being so anxious I fidgeted with my watch until the strap completely broke. My cousin also says her fidget toys help her concentrate when working, so they’re definitely something worth investing in.
Available from Argos for £7.99
Divided Plates Set
For some autistic people, food touching can be an issue. Often, this is because the tastes and textures colliding can just be a highly unpleasant experience. While it’s easy to get divided plates for children, it can be hard to get them for adults. However, I’ve discovered a great 3-piece ceramic set which is also microwave-friendly. Trust me, your fussy food friends will thank you endlessly for this!
Available from Amazon for £32.99
Which of these gift ideas appeals most to you? Do you have any suggestions to add to the list?
Jazz is a Disney, tea and pop culture enthusiast with a passion for blogging. Also a proud introvert.