We are down to the last 3 weeks before Christmas, and for some of us the panic is probably starting to set in as to what presents we need to get for our nearest and dearest.
As a parent of a child with extra needs and one who is a wheelchair user the first couple of years Denis and I struggled as to what to get Noah for Christmas and his birthday that wasn’t based around a television screen or gaming device.
So if we as the parents were finding it a struggle it must have been harder again for those closest to us to try to figure out what they should buy.
This is a very broad guide because the world of extra needs/disability is so vast but it might help to giving you a better understanding of how to buy a gift for those extra special people in your life.
One of my main points in this blog is to let you know that it’s not necessary to always buy something specialised or something that has the “special needs” label tagged to it, as often times unfortunately these products can be very expensive.
However there is a brilliant Irish Company called Thinking Toys that specialises in a wide range of specialised toys.
They have a brilliant website which has all the products broken down into different categories to help you in your search.
So apart from that here’s what we find are the best mainstream toys/gifts we have got for Noah aside from technology.
(Noah is physically disabled to cognitively he is as a 7-year-old should be and this can make a difference in the gifts you would purchase).
It’s no secret you just cant go wrong with Lego and its amazing for the fine motor skills (Skills that require coordination of the small muscles in the fingers, toes, eyes and hands). There are so many variations of it now its impossible not to find something to suit everyone. Noah and Sophie absolutely adore Lego and if I’m honest so do Mammy and Daddy.
Board Games are brilliant in so many ways. They bring family together, they educate (well maybe not ones like pie face), they require some level of concentration and more importantly they are fun.
What I would say when it comes to Board Games is stick to the simple ones even for older kids and adults simple, short games are way more fun for everyone.
One of the best lot of board games we have bought (and we have quiet a collection) are Orchard Toys games.
They are extremely well made, beautifully illustrated and educational.
You can find a link to their website here at Orchard Toys Top 10 Christmas Games.
All kids love books, they love being read books, looking at pictures and getting involved in the stories.
Noah and Sophie have always got books every year for Christmas and one that has to be got every year is the Guinness Book of Records.
There are 100’s of books to choose from you really can’t go wrong so don’t be afraid of your choices.
TK Maxx is a great shop for deals.
Another present that is great for the fine motor skills and concentration. It can also be done on a table top which is great for wheelchair users.
What I would say when it comes to jig-saws if you can afford it, it is better to go with the timber ones for younger kids as they will last longer and are easier to put together.
My mother and mother in law still have their timber jig-saws from when we were small anyone remember the map of Ireland and Europe??
CARS (DINKIES, HOTWHEELS ETC)
Noah absolutely adores his cars. He comes up with great games with them and we kind of use them in replace of a ball i.e if we want to play Donkey etc we pass the cars on the ground to each other.
Also he can play with them on the table and the imaginations he comes up with its lovely to watch.
Obviously I would be lying if I didn’t say the best cars are the Hot Wheels and what’s great is you can buy sets of them for under €10.
ARTS & CRAFTS
There are plenty of different combinations when it comes to Art & Craft supplies.
It can be as simple as a packet of colouring pencils and a colouring book.
Or playdoh which is brilliant for working the muscles in the hands.
Mainly when it comes to buying anything for any child, make sure that the gifts are age appropriate.
Also if you are really struggling, I know from personal experience I would prefer someone to ask us what we think Noah would like rather than getting a present for him that he wont be able to use.
And if you don’t want to do that I know that we always appreciated vouchers where Noah could go and pick out his own gift after at a later date.
The most important thing to note is that parents of kids with special needs are aware that those nearest and dearest to us might struggle with the present buying but, you know what that means?
It means you care and that’s the most important thing of all.
All our love
Our Wheely Big Journey.