Gift Ideas

Deidra Darst is a speech language pathologist, autism mom, and State Director of the Mountaineer Autism Project.

With the holidays upon us, we here at the Mountaineer Autism Project thought you might be looking for gift ideas  Buying for a child on the spectrum can be difficult, but no worries, we are here to help!

Below you will find some of our favorite toys, sensory items, and generally-loved things for our autism population.  The pictures are clickable links to help guide you to the perfect gift for your child.

Fluffy Slime - Meland 6 OZ Jumbo Fluffy Floam Slime Stress Relief Toy Scented Sludge Toy for Kids and Adults, Super Soft and Non-sticky, ASTM Certified, 4 Colors 

Slime is a big hit with young kids, teens, and adults alike right now!  Along those same lines, you might be interested in PlayDoh, Gak, or even foaming soap – we like this one:

Fun House Kids Foam Soap Wild Watermelon & Bubble Gum,2 Pack

These visual sensory items are often very popular as well:

BESTOMZ 3 Pack Liquid Motion Timer Bubbler for Sensory Play, Fidget Toy


DGJWH LED Gloves Flashing Finger Light Gloves 3 Colors 6 Modes for Halloween, Christmas, Novelty Light Up Toys

Mini Flashing Light-Up Spiky Balls (12 pcs)


Spinners/tops/etc are often winners too!


Bolz (BOLZA) Bolz Train Spinning Top Toy


Wind-up toys are fun and cheap:


Wind Up Toy,28 Pack Assorted Clockwork Toy Set,Original Color Wind Up Animal Party Favors Toy Great Gift for Boys Girls Kids Toddlers(Contents and Color May Vary)


If you’re looking for some big-ticket items, here are a few things that we really enjoy:


Excellerations SINGTREE Singing Tree Marble Run

ActivPlay 14' Round Trampoline & Enclosure, Navy Blue


People often ask what the best “learning toys” are for their children.  We love anything that requires hands-on work and thinking skills.  Examples would be puzzles, put-ins, and building toys (like Legos, Lincoln Logs, etc).  If your child is working on pretend play skills, play kitchens and dress-up items are wonderful gifts.  “Old School” toys are truly timeless.  Blocks, puzzles, books, finger paint – you know, the things that don’t require batteries!  Never underestimate the fun one can have with cars, trains, and baby dolls.

Some great stocking stuffers might include bubbles and chewy tubes. 

Some Do-It-Yourself toys end up being the most-loved items for our kids.  Homemade rain sticks, water bottles filled with water, soap, and glitter can provide hours of entertainment.

As with anything concerning your child – just think about what they enjoy.  If she likes animals, she might love animal figurines.  If he likes trains, I bet a train set would be a hit.  (And if they put things in their mouth, always be cautious and keep that in mind when you make your purchases!)

Remember, play is a child’s work!  A playing child is a learning child.  We must remember that, even though they’re on the spectrum, kids with autism are just that – kids.


Happy shopping!


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