As a society, we talk a lot about autism, but it’s almost always focused on children. You might want to remember that children with autism grow up to be adults with autism. What adults with autism want and need more than anything is acceptance. They need folks to say, “It’s OK to flap your hands or playing with a fidget cube.” “It’s OK to stay home from that holiday party with the crowds and blinking lights.” “It’s OK not to eat the cranberry sauce if the texture bothers you.”
If you know an autistic adult, below are some recommended gifts that are fun, useful, and autism-supportive.
Many therapists suggest weighted blankets for dealing with sensory overload and stress. A cooling weighted blanket helps lessen sweating at night. “Adults with autism love getting things that are weighted.”
Noise-canceling headphones can aid a person on the autism spectrum filter out the noise they find painful due to auditory hypersensitivity.
Aquarium (Simulated or Real)
For someone who isn’t able to keep a fish tank, an attractive simulated tank promotes relaxation and calmness.
If you aren’t too sure about an autistic adult having a real aquarium, get a bubble lamp for relaxation.
Lava lamps are another good option for soothing sensory stimulation. They can be the perfect gift for an adult, though they are very hot to the touch, so put them a good distance away from kids and flammable items.
Many autistic adults think that essential oils invigorating or soothing. Don’t forget a good-looking diffuser to aid in filling the room with a natural fragrance. Make sure, though, your special someone isn’t allergic or dislike certain scents.
Some autistic adults like having cotton balls with scents on-hand (in tiny, individually labeled ziplocked baggies) to help during panic attacks, as well as soothe anxiety.