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Insights & Expertise

Kinney’s Favorite Things 2022

If you have a loved one with autism on your holiday gift list this year, consider these sensory-friendly gift recommendations by Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support staff.

Adult gives a gift present to child.

Published: November 22, 2022

Total reading time: 2 minutes

Each year, our experts at Saint Joseph’s Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support provide their picks for sensory-friendly gifts. If you have a loved one with autism, consider these suggestions during the holiday shopping season:

1. Fidget Spinner Pop It! - This combines two great sensory toys in one! With this item, the individual is able to decide if they want to spin it or pop it. A Fidget Spinner Pop It can relieve people's stress, release anxiety, rehabilitate your mood and get rid of boredom during daily life.

Hannah Tomkovicz, BCBA, associate director of programs

2. Squishmallows - Despite their collectible nature, squishmallows are a great sensory home comfort item, with a pillow-like texture that are great to hold or, as the name suggests, squish! The best part, there are so many different varieties of this toy you can get, so you can match your child’s favorite animal, food item or fictional creature.

Robert Haftl, MSW, assistant director of college support

3. Heated Blanket - A heated blanket provides a great way to relax the body during the winter months. It’s a great gift for all ages and many offer multiple settings for different heat levels.

Alli Gatta, MS, LPC, NCC, associate director of college support

4. Fidget Chair Bands - A chair band is a great way to receive sensory input while engaged in a seated activity like studying, writing or reading. This sensory gift can be utilized at home or in school. For those who are more productive when they have access to a fidget, the benefits of being able to access proprioceptive input while leaving hands available to complete tasks is invaluable. As a bonus, it is quiet enough to be utilized in a classroom setting!

Mary Ann Newell, MS, LPC, NCC, associate director of college support

5. Glitter Bead Ball - The glitter bead ball is an amazing fidget to keep hands busy, yet at the same time enjoy some sensory needs as you can squeeze and stretch it. It also contains beads, which can be used as a distraction. The bead ball is great for those who also like visual input as it contains glitter and comes in an array of colors. It can be taken anywhere and does not have to stay in one area. I personally like any form of squeeze balls and I am interested in buying one for myself!

Jacqueline Gally, RBT, assistant director of programs