Bah, Humbug. Or, Christmas Shopping For A Special Needs Child.

Christmas shopping for my 11 year old is easy.  I could close my eyes in a toy store and point to that, that, that and that and she’d be thrilled.   Tonka Truck?  Excellent.  Sparkly jewelry maker?  Superb.  GI Joe with the kung fu grip?  Ecstatic.  The kid loves everything.  If I bring home a napkin holder from Salvation Army she talks about it for an hour.  There’s nothing she doesn’t like and is excited about everything she gets from Santa/Mom.  (She’s old enough to know it’s Mom, but doesn’t want to give up the idea of Santa just yet)

Merry Christmas!  Socks!  She'd put one pair on immediately and sleep with the other.

Merry Christmas! Socks! She’d put one pair on immediately and sleep with the other.

And then…..there’s Hallee.  My Best Gal Pal Hal is 16, profoundly autistic and functions at about a 6 year old level.  Christmas shopping for her is just….hard.  She hates new things.  She hates things that light up or make noise.  She hates things with moving parts.  She has exactly one life-sized baby doll that she got for a birthday a few years back and refuses to entertain the thought of another.  She also has one teddy bear that we pretty much forced her into getting a Build-A-Bear a couple of years ago.  Same thing, why would you need another stuffed animal when she already has one?  That’s crazy talk.

Last year Mark won at Christmas when he found a beautiful brass doll bed for her doll.  I went to Salvation Army and found tiny little baby blankets and a baby pillow, and several newborn sized outfits for the doll, whose name is Kathy, by the way.  Kathy has slept in that bed and worn the occasion new outfit every single day since then.  I’ve tried to bring in new things for the doll since then, a stroller, some booties…but nope.  She has all she needs in Hal’s mind, nothing new allowed, so that avenue is closed to us.

She loves arts and crafts, but has a fully stocked art desk in her room.  There’s things on it from LAST Christmas that she hasn’t opened yet.  Markers, paints, paper, crayons, name it.  All there and not to be added to.  Sigh.

She loves her iPad.  No questions there.  If the house were on fire and she could grab one thing, I’d have boot tracks up my back from her trying to get it outside to safety.  So, I’m going to work with that.  She needs a case for it, since it’s brand new and Hal is notoriously hard on electronics.  She had 5 Kindle Fires before the iPad.  5.  She knows how to find YouTube and will watch the kids videos instead of tv.  Barney, Caillou, Teletubbies..all the old favorites from when she was little.  So I hit and got a hot pink cover that I know she’ll leave on.  Thick, shock absorbing’s to hoping it works., $2.00, $2.00

I also found a hot pink charger to go with it.  We have two iPads and somehow only ended up with one charger, so she can have her own instead of always trying to juggle with mine., $3, $3.00

And now I’m stumped for more.  What do you get a child who doesn’t want or like new things?  Very rarely when we’re walking thru a store, she’ll stop and look at something.  Maybe a Barney DVD, maybe a new package of paper.  She’ll hold it up and look at me.  I tell her toss it into the buggy.  End of story.  She’ll glance at toy catalogs that her sister leaves in every room of the house, but if I point something out to her, she says, “No, no, no…not for me”.

The things that are developmentally age appropriate for her, she already has in spades.    Blocks, Duplos, books, arts & crafts stuff.  There are TWO unopened dolls from Christmases past standing in their boxes on the shelf in her room.  Nice ones.  Untouched.  Never opened.  No more dolls.

I’m going to try hitting AC Moore or Joanne’s tomorrow to see if I can find some arts and crafts projects for younger you guys remember the potholder weaving thingies?  I LOVED that thing as a kid, and it would be great for her fine motor skills if she would try it.  That’s a big if.  Sand art?  An easel?

I need ideas, gang.  We’re coming down to crunch time here and I hate to go to the old stand-by stuff..there has to be something out there that I’m missing.  If you have special a special needs child, what do they love?  Where do you shop?  Do you drink during the holidays, too?

Allyson Sorenson

About Allyson Sorenson

Bangor mom. BDN blogger. Volvo lover. Coffee drinker.