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Gift Ideas for Teens With Asperger's Syndrome

by
author image Bonnie Crowe
Bonnie Crowe is a mother of two teenagers; a teacher and author of children's books, curriculum and articles on English grammar, literature, technology, art, parenting and career guides for high schoolers. She's a former director of AOL Parenting, a member of SCBWI, and a graduate from the University of California,Berkeley.
Gift Ideas for Teens With Asperger's Syndrome
Some teens with Asperger's syndrome have a special interest in science and would appreciate a gift along those lines. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images

Asperger’s syndrome is a form of autism, a developmental disorder that is marked by difficulties in communication, social skills, understanding social queues and anxiety. As autism is a spectrum disorder, those who have an Asperger’s diagnosis are on the highest level of functioning; high functioning autism is another word for Asperger’s syndrome. Teens who have Asperger’s often have special interests, as well as sensory issues which can make gift giving a challenge. The key to delivering a successful gift is to avoid items that the teen has no interest in, and instead, hone in on finding gifts that are tailored to the child’s interests.

Special Interests

Many teens with Asperger’s syndrome have a special interest in a given topic or item. Find gifts that align with the child’s hobby. For instance, some teens collect game cards, comic books or other collectibles. Find out which item is missing in the collection and your gift surely can hit the spot. Some teens make it their business to know everything about dinosaurs, model ships or trains. Find gifts that are themed with the child’s special interest to be extra appealing. Not all gifts may seem age appropriate. For instance, even though many kids stop collecting toy trains at around 8 or 9 years old, a teen with Asperger’s might still derive great pleasure in the toy. Many teens and even adults with Asperger’s who like certain science fiction film and TV shows will love dolls made in their favorite character’s likeness, or even superhero figurines or toys.

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Puzzle Games and Chess

Teens with Asperger’s syndrome often have high IQs and enjoy challenging games. Games with strategy, such as chess, can be fun. Elaborate puzzles with a theme that the teen is interested in can also be a winning combination. For instance, if the teen has a special interest in trains, then a puzzle with pictures of classic steam engines would be an ideal choice, or chess pieces shaped like trains.

Sensory Items

What teen doesn’t love a lava lamp? Or a plasma star? Items that are visually and audibly soothing on the senses are enjoyed by many teens with Asperger’s. Wave machines that play ocean or nature sounds can be a relaxing gift for a teen. Some high functioning autistic teens like to feel the gentle pressure of weighted items for relaxation. Weighted blankets, vests and shoulder pads can be the perfect gift for some teens with Asperger’s.

Scientific Items

Some teens with Asperger’s are into science. For the kid who’s into astronomy, give a telescope or a star projector that can turn a teen’s bedroom into a mini planetarium. Chemistry sets can offer hours of stimulating fun. For a kid who’s into medicine, a microscope or a stethoscope could be just the kind of unique gift that will stand out. You can't go wrong giving shirts with scientific themes, such as take-offs on the periodic table.

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