Finding a special gift for someone older with a disability or sensory needs – that is both suitable and age appropriate – can be quite a challenge.
Lots of our customers come to us for help. We get loads of feedback from families, requests and guidance from therapists. Plus we get to see what is actually on the market.
We get to see what works, what is popular, what’s available and what’s new.
We’ve put together an extensive list of ideas to make Birthdays and Christmas a whole lot easier. The list pin includes tips and handy information that will help you find the best items. You might even want to share this with your family and friends looking for suggestions.
You’ll notice various price points to cater for all budgets as well as items for home, school, on the move or a sensory room.
Enjoy the browse!
These Vibes Ear Buds are reusable and designed for teenagers and adults – they are mostly clear so very discreet and they reduce noise without distorting sound.
The Vibes Ear Buds were designed by a young fellow in the USA, who wanted ear plugs for attending music festivals that would still provide good quality sound (hi fidelity). He ended up putting the project on Kickstarter (a fund raising platform) and it went viral. Turns out the Ear Buds were a hit with concert goers, but there was an unexpected benefit – they were also perfect in noisy environments but you could still hear people talking. This meant, once word got out, that the Vibes Ear Buds became popular with individuals sensitive to sound, with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injuries or ADHD.
Just so you know, you can also get a cord to attach the buds, so they’re not lost when not in use.
We sell a lot of these to adults as they are so comfortable and easy to wear. They fold up, so can be easily kept in a pocket, bag or backpack. These are a good compromise between bulky headphones worn over the ear and the small discreet Ear Buds that are put into the ear.
If you havn’t seen or heard of the Kloudsac, then you might want to have a closer look. They are hugely popular with teenagers and adults! Brodie is looking pretty darn comfortable in the Faux Fur Kloudsac.
You’d be forgiven for asking what makes them so special and worth the price tag. The number one reason is that they don’t have the bean bag polystyrene filling. They use a special dream foam which means they don’t make the “grating noise” which some people cannot abide. The dream foam also means that you can sink down into the Kloudsac and it gently gives you a gorgeous comfortable hug. When you get out, the foam inside moves back to fill out the Kloudsac once again. Kloudsacs come in various sizes. We sell the KIDS (small) which is the one in the photo (and as you can see it isn’t exactly small!!!) and the URBAN (which is the next size up). The price depends on the size and the cover chosen.
Couple of things to note with the Kloudsacs:
(1) They are BIG – which I guess is one of the reasons they’re ideal for teenagers and adults. At one stage I had an URBAN in the bag of my little Toyota Corolla – and it filled the whole hatchback and Be warned, they take up a lot of room.
(2) When they arrive, they come in this vacuum sealed packaging. It took me a few hours to pull the foam apart, for it fill the Kloudsac cover.
(3) When you first get the Kloudsac set up, it needs to NOT be used for at least 24hrs. We left our shop demo one for 2 whole days before using it. If you’re purchasing a Kloudsac just make sure you leave enough time to get it set up.
The best way to order a Kloudsac is to pop in store or give us a ring and we can talk you through size and cover options. You can always have a look on the Kloudsac website (you can buy directly from them, but we’d love the business ….and we charge the same price). I’ll put the link here if you wanted to check them out though. If you were wanting to use NDIS funding and you’re Agency managed, then you’ll need to purchase through an NDIS provider (luckily we fit that bill!).
Where the Kloudsac might give a gentle soft hug, the Pea Pod gives a firm squeeze. If you’re after something that is going to give firm proprioceptive input then the Pea Pod might be the way to go and give the best results for calming. They are inflatable, so it has a fair bit of flexibility (to accomodate different sizes and pressure input).
Now these bolster shape cushions are the way to go if you’re after something different, that gives lots of options which can be tailored to suit individual needs. They’ve been specifically designed with teenagers and adults in mind with sensory needs.
- Weight option add (or remove) the weight pack to provide calming pressure (approx 1.3kg)
- Hot / Cold Pack. Heat the pack in microwave or cool in the freezer and insert either (or none) in cushion
- Turn on the vibe unit (for Vibration input) which has three different vibration levels, and is also rechargeable.
There’s bound to be an option (or all three) that will make this a great gift. It comes in a cool camouflage design or a gorgeous floral pattern.
Another possibility when it comes to cushions is the trendy “flan0-shirt” design. This one is soft and nice to snuggle into. It has a touch activated vibration unit inside.
The Pillow can be used for calming, soothing or relaxing.
The hand held massager is one of those gifts that is bound to be a winner with just about anyone. It is a great price, too!
The Plasma Ball (Tesla’s Lamp) is a captivating accessory that entices curiosity. Touch the glass lamp and create an “attraction spot”.
The Plasma Ball is a wonderful talking point and provides colourful visual input.
We love this hard plastic lamp for a few reasons:
1. It has the option of being plugged into the wall or to be free standing (with it’s rechargeable batteries)
2. It is a good size (about 35cm) and
3. It bas loads of options all controlled with a remote (rotate/spin/stationery, colour changing, flashing).
The lamp would look great in a bedroom or sensory room. If you look on our website
Another option calming sensory option for a bedroom or sensory room is the Glitter Lamp – which changes colours automatically. It takes batteries, which means it is portable and convenient – you can place it where you like.
The giant ooze tube provides calming visual input. The “ooze” slowly seeps and winds its way down while you watch on fascinated. It is quite addictive. The tube is made from a solid plastic, and they come in a variety of colours.
Now this is a totally cool item for anyone to have! It its quite mesmerising to watch, and a real talking point. I know I can’t walk past our demo in the shop without giving it a little flick!
This small indoor table top game is fun for all ages. It is a great way for everyone to develop oral motor and breath control.
Not sure if you know, but the original Fidget Cube was designed by two young men in their early twenties because they were fidgeters! They saw the need for something that was discreet, hand held and provided different surfaces with different fidget options to cater to a wide variety of fidget tastes. They came up with a prototype, put the concept on kickstarter and the rest is history.
Now that the original craze has waned, we find the Fidget Cubes (and we only stock the genuine ridgy-didge fidget cubes) are still popular with die-hard sensory fidgeters. You can also buy a key ring attachment so they don’t get lost.
I love this mini roller. It is one of my favourite fidgets because it is easy to swivel, can fit in your hand or pocket and is quiet. It looks cools, too. A great little extra to throw in with a gift, or to add to a fidget or sensory kit.
Mad Matter has taken over from Kinetic Sand. And, if you thought it was just for kids then you need to spend some time in our store and see the age range of who is actually playing with it!
It has a different feel to kinetic sand, it is more ‘silky’. I had both kinetic sand and mad matter out in our store and asked lots of people what they preferred – almost everyone said Mad Matter. Most people said they liked the feel of it and that Mad Matter didn’t stick to their hands.
The Mad Matter comes in Purple or Blue. You can get two sizes. We recommend getting the small brick pack (you get the lego brick maker) and a large pack.
Just so you know, we also sell the big white trays (with high sides) which are ideal for Mad Matter sensory play and creations.
Is an old but a goody. It remains popular and is a great gift for those seeking calming tactile input.
Fidgipod and Desk Buddy
These two products are made by the same company, and were designed by therapists specifically as a discreet fidget for teenagers and adults. In fact the Fidgipod was originally designed for the work place – as an object for a work desk, the idea being that people could fidget whilst still getting their work done. The Desk Buddy is a ruler, and as a result does not look out of place on a desk or in a school backpack at all. Technically, it is not really for measurement, not at least in Australia, as the units are in inches.
The Coggy is designed as a manipulative visual logic puzzle. It gradually gets more difficult as you progress through the levels – trying to twist and turn the soggy until it matches the pattern card. I’m not terribly good at logic puzzles, but I love the Coggy and worked my way through all the levels whenever I had a few spare minutes.
The Coggy is also a great fidget.
The Time Timer Watch Plus helps to keep track of your routine when you’re on the go. It has a few options: set the timer (with an optional repeating alert), use it as a watch (both analogue and digital displays in either 12 or 24hr format), and have a time-of-day alarm.
The watch has been designed to include a silent operation with vibrate alert option, so it is great for the classroom and out and about. Great if you need a discrete behaviour management option. It is also Water Resistant (30M), with a soft silicone watch band which fits between 14cm to 20cm wrist.
This is a knot-tying game. It is designed as a race between 2 people (to complete the knot on the cards that become progressively more difficult). That said, it can be used solo without the pressure of the timer and is a fabulous way to develop fine motor skills. We’ve sold quite a few of these to Occupational Therapists who find it is well suited to older clients.
Sunnies are a great option as a gift for someone with special needs. Uglyfish (yes, that is the brand name, odd name agreed, but it is memorable!) have a range of sunglasses that are virtually indestructible.
They are designed for regular outdoors, sporty use or even on a work site – they can really cop a hiding but they look cool too.
Once we saw them, we realised they’d be great for those with special needs. They look good, are comfortable (they have a few things that really help those with special needs get a good fit) and are perfect for those who might be rough on their belongings. We have a range for you to choose from. Two pairs (the matt black ones – 5447 and 5117) have arms that can be adjusted (bent) so they fit well and will stay on. The gloss black model (5311) has a “key” fit (more snug) on the bridge of the nose. You’re bound to find a pair that suits.
Brodie is rocking the 5311 model below.
We hope you have found this post helpful. It is amazing what is out there, what is age appropriate and works well for someone you love who has special needs.