5 Holiday Gift Ideas for a Child with Special Needs, Created By One!

Plus 8 Great Holiday Gift Ideas for their Parents

By Carissa Garabedian, Publisher of Know Different and Macaroni Kid Richmond, VA December 23, 2022

Buying gifts for anyone can be challenging! Are you looking to get a gift for a child who has special needs? Maybe you need a gift for your own child, a friend or family member? No matter which, Macaroni KID has you covered.

I know that all kids can have varied needs, likes and dislikes, but for those with special needs it may be a little more specific. There may also be items that help make their parents' lives a little easier. 

If you are shopping for a gift for someone with special needs and haven’t yet figured out what to get, take a look here - it may help!

RODNAE Productions from Pexels via Canva

5 Gift ideas for children with special needs

  1. Books - Comics, Picture, Coloring or Activity:  If reading is not high on their list, these are perfect as they do not require as much reading, the pictures can be enough. They tell a story and kids really enjoy them. 
  2. Movies: Some theaters offer sensory-friendly showing, so this can be a great family outing.
  3. iTunes / App store / Video Game Card: Many kids have a device that they use for games and learning - this would allow them to have some freedom in adding funds. Also there are apps that offer "read aloud" books for those who have challenges with reading. And who doesn't love music?
  4. Hands on - Puzzles, Legos or Building sets: This is a great independent option or activity the whole family can do together. Although, in our home, our son does not want help!
  5. Monthly Subscription - Magazines: A gift that arrives monthly is something exciting for them to look forward to each month - it's a gift that keeps on giving. Highlights (ages 6-12), Highlights Five (ages 2-6), Ranger Rick (ages 7-12, Ranger Rick Jr. (ages 4-7), Ranger Rick Cub (ages 0-4), Nick Jr., National Geographic Kids (ages 6-12), National Geographic Little Kids (ages 3-6) and Sports Illustrated Kids (ages 8-14), these are just a few ideas.

My 5 Ideas:

  1. Weighted blanket or soft plush stuffy toy to cuddle
  2. Membership to their favorite museum or indoor play place - Hideout, KidsWorld and We Rock the Spectrum are great local choices
  3. Treat them to their favorite food place or restaurant: Pizza and Frozen Treats are great options
  4. Fidget toys: Spinners, cubes, stress balls, putty are some options 
  5. A wallet of their own: It doesn't need to be fancy, just a place to keep all these cards in so they know where they are when it's time to use them!

nd3000 from Getty Images via Canva

8 Great Gift Ideas For Special Need Parents

Since we had a list for our kids with special needs, why not have one that we can send over to our friends and family with some ideas to help make our lives a little bit easier, happier, and even maybe - pampered!

I thought about things that would make my day smoother and make me smile. It wasn’t easy - most of what I came up with, were things for the family - I really wanted to find things to take care of just the grown-ups.

Gift certificate / card:

  1. Spa treatment
  2. Cleaning Service
  3. Bookstore - most have more than just book
  4. Local coffee shop
  5. Favorite place to eat
  6. Movies
  7. Manicure / Pedicure
  8. Favorite salon

For those who are worried about the costs, I have two suggestions:

  1. Your gift card does not have to be the full value, even if it is a portion, it will be one step closer to assuring they get to use it!
  2. If you need a budget friendly options - friends and family can create certificates and provide a service to the parents offering childcare, a meal, run errands etc. 

There are ways to give, and receive, that will make a difference!

Don’t be afraid to share this; sometimes all we need to do is let others know what we need, as we say so many times to one another - unless we say it, we can’t expect others to know it.

Carissa Garabedian is the publisher of and mother to a special needs child in Richmond, Virginia. Carissa also publishes the award-winning Macaroni KID of Richmond, VA.

This previously published article has been updated and edited by Brenna Gutell, publisher for Macaroni KID Conejo Valley - Malibu - Calabasas