What gift do I give a family raising a child with autism?

Holidays can be especially challenging for these families. Parents may struggle to muster excitement about shopping for a child who will refuse to open the present. They often spend their large family gatherings tucked away in a solitary room with a child who can’t tolerate the crowd. They may mourn the fact that their child won’t be sitting on Santa’s lap … or participating in a school program … or whispering with siblings about what presents await.

So what do you get this family?

For 50¢, you could send a note of encouragement to the parents. Let them know that you care. Mention any progress you have seen – a fleeting smile, better eye contact, more intelligible words.

For $5, you could deliver a fancy cup of coffee to a weary mom. Many children with autism are unable to sleep through the night; consequently, their parents are generally sleep-deprived.

For $50, you could fill up their car with gas. Children with autism often have therapy schedules that require frequent trips all over town. Their families frequently pay for these therapies out-of-pocket.

For $500, you could buy an iPad (a great “go-in” opportunity). This device is worth its weight in gold for children with autism. Tremendous apps are available - flashcards, educational games, entertainment options, even whole communication systems. 

Whatever the amount you can spend, your gesture will be appreciated!