1. Fidget Toys I could almost end the list right there. The absolutely most successful kind of toy for Janey, and for a lot of kids like her, is what is called a fidget toy. It's a toy that can be handled, twisted, fiddled with, pulled on, in general, fidgeted with. The pictures tell it better than I can. I love having a box of these around for Janey, to pull out in difficult moments or what we have to wait for a bus or otherwise sit around. These toys are often sold, strangely, by office supply stores, as a lot of adults like them at their desks. I don't generally like to mention any specific sites or stores, but I've ordered from these folks at Office Playground and they have a huge selection of fidget toys and good customer service (they didn't ask me or pay me or even know I'm giving them a shout out!)
2. Pin Art Toys I have gotten Janey quite a few of these, and she loves them to death! They are fascinating to her.
3. Contained Water Toys I made up that category title as I don't know a name for this type of toy. Basically, it's a toy with water inside, one you can move around to manipulate the water, which often has drops of dye in it, or waves made from dyed water.
4. Various Fisher-Price Toddler Toys And other companies too, of course, but the ones I've found that Janey likes best are by Fisher-Price. She adores their Roll-Around toys, little balls with things sealed inside to look at and shake. And one of the biggest hits we've found is a line of toys I don't think they make any more, called Amazing Animals. They are larger sized hard plastic animals that are jointed, and make a very satisfying clicking sound when moved around.
DON'T GET And of course, like with everything I write her, I'm writing from my own experience. But in general...Don't get things with lots of pieces. They are going to get lost, or eaten or at the worst choked on. Don't get games. Most of the time, kids with LFA don't understand them, and are not entertained by trying to learn them. Don't get books. It pains me to say that, because I love books more than anything. But it's a rare book that really catches on, and most books, especially pretty books you wouldn't want to be ripped up, are just going to sit on shelves. Don't get videos. Not that the kids won't love them, because they very well might, but because most kids with LFA already have about a million videos. Don't get dolls or stuffed animals. Imaginative play is not the strongest suit for kids with autism. I do know of several girls that love dolls (I'm think of you, Jamie and Reagan!) but dolls are also pretty easy to find, and another gift would most likely be more appreciated. And don't get food. Many of our kids are on special diets. Recently, we eliminated chocolate from Janey's diet, and I suddenly understand far more than I used to how hard it is when someone brings it into the house!
I imagine this list, strangely, might be one of the more controversial blog posts I've written! I know I don't speak for everyone. Please feel free to disagree and add your own suggestions. But I hope these will help someone trying to buy for the child with LFA that they love!