Holiday Gift Giving Ideas by the Ism

Shopping for gifts during the holidays can be overwhelming. But if you have a child with special needs, this task can be even more difficult. Your child may have a narrow range of interests, or there may be skill deficits to keep in consideration. In addition, most of us are spending money on various therapies, tutors, and medications, so the holiday season can push us over financially.

To make your purchasing a bit easier, we have selected some items and categorized them by Isms/challenges. You can find fun and appealing toys that can help your child work on various skills. Some of these toys will help build social skills, while others will help kids learn turn taking. Games are always useful in teaching kids how to be a good sport, win or lose.

Fine Motor Skills

Eco-Dough[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B001Q5EXTM” locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”” width=”75″]
The colors for the play dough are made from plant, fruit and vegetable extracts, making it all-natural.

Honey Bee Tree[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B000063KC8″ locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”” width=”60″]
You must have a steady hand to remove the plastic leaves. Pulling the wrong leaf will wake the bees!

Lego Banana Balance[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B004478GEC” locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”” width=”61″]
A game of balance that involves picking the best bananas as the tree grows new leaves.

Operation[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B0017RSYCG” locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”” width=”75″]
This game demands a steady hand as you operate the surgical tool to remove the item from your patient.

Perfection[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B00000IWHG” locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”” width=”75″]
Speed is needed as children match pieces by shape and orientation to their location on the board.

Topple[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B00000IZEL” locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”” width=”75″]
Topple is a three-dimensional board game that lets kids work on fine motor, motor planning and graded control.  Careful, controlled movement is required in placing discs on the platform.

Twist N’ Write Pencils, 4-Pack[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B000XHNQ4C” locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”” width=”75″]
These ergonomically designed Y-shaped pencils help kids who struggle with writing by promoting comfort and extra control. These are great for stocking stuffers.

Gross Motor Skills

Glide Bikes[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B004SN4YHK” locale=”us” height=”50″ src=”” width=”75″]
These bikes do not have pedals, a chain, or training wheels and are small enough so children can have their feet touch the ground while sitting. Glide bikes allow children to learn to balance and steer, before they move onto a fully equiped bike.

Monster Bowling[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B00272N8M6″ locale=”us” height=”60″ src=”” width=”75″]
These six textured monster pins, along with a beastly ball, provide for team building skills and turn taking.

Blast Pad Advanced Missile Launch System[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B0009IBD2C” locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”” width=”75″]
Kids jump and stomp on the launch pad, resulting in foam missiles being launched into the air!

Sensory Skills

Danceland: Songames and Activities to Improve Sensory Skills[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”1935567101″ locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”” width=”53″]
This CD was designed by two physical therapists and an occupational therapist. They suggest movements to help with sensory skills.

28 Instant Songames: Fun Filled Activities for Kids 3-8[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”193556708X” locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”” width=”53″]
Kids get up and move to the songames participating in fun musical activities that address sensory issues.

Weighted Blanket and Weighted Vest[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B001TZEGE6″ locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”” width=”75″]
Weighted blankets and vests can calm, soothe, and reduce stress for some children.


Build a Robot Game[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B00188TVXK” locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”” width=”75″]
Large, colorful playing pieces are used to build a robot, while helping a child with number recognition. Children spin, choose a part, and build their robot.

ThinkFun Rush Hour[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B00000DMER” locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”” width=”75″]
This game teaches sequential movement and problem solving. Kids set-up the board according to provided pictures and then slide vehicles around to create a path so that their red car can exit.

Visual Spacial

Dado Cubes – Original[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B002CCB84Q” locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”” width=”75″]
These cubes are made of heavy plastic and come in varying sizes and colors. They interlock to create three-dimensional structures.

Pattern Blocks and Boards[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B00006JZCG” locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”” width=”75″]
This set contains over 100 blocks in 6 different shapes and colors. The blocks can be used to fit ten designed pattern boards developing shape recognition and spatial relationship skills.

Other Options

Dinosaur Train – InterAction Buddy[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B003ET17HY” locale=”us” height=”75″ src=”” width=”75″]
These fabulous dinosaurs are based on the PBS Kids show Dinosaur Train, but they’re perfect for any dinosaur lover. Featuring Smart Talk Technology, the dinosaurs talk and interact with one another.

EZ SOX® Kid Socks: 2 Pair Pack: Animal Socks with easy pull up loops![easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B006M4B5D4″ locale=”us” height=”69″ src=”” width=”75″]
These socks have built-in handles that make them easy to pull-up.

iPad or iPhone[easyazon-image align=”right” asin=”B004ZLV5PE” locale=”us” height=”56″ src=”” width=”75″]
The iPad and iPhone make great gifts, offering many educational applications.

 What is on your shopping list? Please tell us what special items you have found.

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Special-Ism About Special-Ism

An "Ism" is our coined term synonymous with a “challenge”. Many children, with or without a diagnostic label, experience various challenges throughout their developmental years which are impacting them in the classroom and at home. At Special-Ism, the Ism is our focus. We do not look at the diagnostic label, instead, we look at the Isms and offer solutions no matter the diagnosis.