Many people associate autism toys as being something for younger kids or people on the spectrum with severe autism. But what about teens with autism? They still like to play and, often, that urge lasts longer than it does for teens who aren’t on the spectrum. That means you’ll need to start looking for toys that can hold their interest and stimulate them in different ways. Sounds tough, right? It doesn’t have to be. Here are a few great and proven suggestions to consider when looking for teen-approved toys.
Fidget toys are some of the best autism toys on the market. They give teens something to do with their hands and can help distract them from stimuli that might otherwise become overwhelming. If you’re looking for a fidget toy that’s right for your teen, consider the types of things they enjoy. Do they love turning switches on and off or pressing buttons? If so, look for a sensory cube that will give them several types of switches to play with. If they like to spin things, a standard fidget spinner may be a perfect choice. These are both quiet, making them perfect choices for use in the classroom or out at restaurants where other toys might distract others.
Toys that Follow Their Interests
Some teens with autism have intense passion for certain hobbies and interests. Let those interests guide you. For example, if a teen loves trains, a model train set may be the perfect toy for them. If they love looking at the stars, a telescope could help them expand their knowledge.
Being a teen is hard, even for teens who aren’t on the spectrum. There are social pressures to deal with and teens with autism are often keenly aware of the fact that they’re different than their peers. This can lead to some anxiety and stress in their day. Instead of gifting autism toys, consider finding a gift that can bring them comfort at home. Weighted blankets and weighted stuffed animals are great options and can act as a calming
Loud background noises are distracting for everyone, but for teens with autism, they can increase anxiety and can lead to meltdowns. Noise-canceling headphones may not be a toy, but they can help teens on the spectrum enjoy their other autism toys while also making it easier for them to focus on tasks or enjoy being out of the house without having to cope with overly loud noises. These headphones come in both wired and wireless options, so think about how your teen might respond to both options before choosing a set for them.
Autism toys are the perfect way to show your teen that you understand them and want them to be the happy and confident person you know they can be. If you’re still not sure what to get your teen, don’t be afraid to ask them or speak with your therapist at your next family autism therapy appointment.