Saturday, November 20, 2010

Share your ideas for toy and book gifts for kids with special needs

A reader emailed the other day, asking for present suggestions for her son, who's 18 months old. I have a bunch of ideas, based on my experiences buying a kajillion toys for Max when he was younger as well as current recommendations from therapists. But I thought that together, all of us could come up with a super-comprehensive list.

So, would you guys email me about the toys and books your kids have loved—and that have helped them in some way, either developmentally, intellectually, whatever-ly? It would help if you let me know:

• Your child's age and his/her special needs/powers.
• Why the toy/book has been great. Please share details—for example, did it encourage your child to better use his/her hands? To cruise? To really focus?
• An email link for where to buy the toy or book (but if you don't have time, I'll find one).

Email suggestions to lovethatmax [at] Please put "My gift ideas for kids with special needs" in the subject line, if you can remember, and try to respond within the next week or so. I'll put them all together into a list, with photos.

I know we're headed into hyper-busy season, but this could really benefit all of us. Especially because I hear Santa's online these days, though I have yet to see him on Twitter.

Update: WOW, great response! I'm not going to be able to email everyone back personally to say thanks, so let me just say it in advance: Thank you, thank you, thank you for sending in ideas.


  1. Hanukkah starts Dec 1 this year, not to put too much pressure on you...

  2. OK, I will try to have gift ideas up by then!

  3. Ellen--

    I am a mom of a now almost 18 year old with profound disabilities. I am also an expert in play, toys, and playgrounds for children of all abilities.

    I blog about toys for children with and without disabilities. Every year, Let Kids Play runs a series of "50 Toys in 50 Days", where I really do review a great toy from November 1 to December 20. This is the third year, so not only can people get this year's ideas--they can go back over the last 100 toys : )

    The site is

    If people really get stuck I offer a service for a small fee, where I will spend a 1/2 an hour on the phone with them learning about what their child loves to do and about the areas they are working on and then I provide a personalized list.

    I hope this helps. If you still post gift ideas, I will share them with my readers, if that is alright with you.

    I just want you to know of all the special needs bloggers out there, "I Love Max" is the only one I read each and every day. You are a great writer, but besides that you have a wonderful attitude about raising your children. Thank you for taking the time to share your kids with all of us.

    Mara Kaplan

  4. I am going to break down and get the ipad for Cj 7. So many people on the sn yahoo groups I have joined talked me into it! There are some great special power apps! I think it is the best piece of equipment I have seen so far for our kiddo's! I have tried so many! He hardly has any toys he can play with because of his dystonia, and he is non verbal. He can use his pointer finger pretty well to make choices and use a switch, so I think it will be a great entertainment device! Someone on one of the cp groups cut out holes in a piece of clear plexi-glass for the pointer finger to press at the right spot, so the hand can not swipe the screen (great idea)! I went to the $5 and under store and bought a bunch of toys, books for the boys to open. I am getting Ryan the Nintendo dx lite at Game Stop (used hi-tech toys). He is 6 and at THAT age where he wants what his friends have!

  5. I'd love to see a post about what people do for teacher gifts. My daughter has several teachers/therapists/aides so I'm struggling with finding something that suits everyone but they all do so much for her that I feel the need to do something for them to show our appreciation.

  6. Sheila: I'm literally working on that right now! Will post this week.

    Mara: Wonderful that you do that, great to have an expert weighing in.

    Keep the gift ideas for kids coming, everyone!

  7. I canNOT wait for this list! Great idea, Ellen!


Thanks for sharing!

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