Gift Ideas for Autistic Adults
Looking for holiday gift ideas for autistic adults? Honestly, same. Looking through autism gift ideas can be so frustrating because looking at the selection, it would appear autism runs out after the age of 10. It’s as if autistic adults don’t exist and the only interest any of us with the ’tism have is fidget toys, apparently.
Admittedly, I’m not always the best gift receiver. I’m not good at hiding if a gift doesn’t make sense to me or if it’s something I already have. Over the years, I’ve received so many gifts that got unwrapped and went virtually untouched after that. Clothes in fabrics I hated the texture of. Games that make noises, so refused to play. Yes, I’m talking about Operation and Perfection.
On the other side of things, I do enjoy picking out gifts for people. I try to put a lot of thought into something they’ll actually be excited about receiving or have use for. So, I decided to channel that energy into a holiday gift guide for autistic adults!
Autism Gift Advice
If you want my gift ideas for autistic adults, my advice is to start with their special interest(s). Is there a certain show they love? Are they also obsessed with Newsies? Maybe they love Star Wars, archeology, or like collecting rocks and would love a fun kit. That being said, try to stay away from generic interests. Most autistic people like dogs, please don’t buy us a sweatshirt that says I *heart-shaped pawprint* dogs. Especially if they’re in their 30s. It just feels impersonal.
To help you find the perfect gift for a neurospicy loved one (or maybe your neurospicy self), I put together this holiday gift guide for people with autism. I’ve put together over 30 different ideas including books, clothing, jewelry, and other ideas, including from my own special interests. I hope it helps!
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Gifts For Book Lovers
- Autism in Heels by Jennifer Cook O’Toole
I love this book so much, I did a whole review on it you can read here. In a way, this book was life-changing for me. It was the most seen I’ve ever felt (especially by a complete stranger.) Jennifer writes so beautifully and genuinely about experiences as an autistic woman. I recommend it to pretty much everyone right now.
- Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison
I stumbled upon this book back around 2010 on a book-buying binge one day while stalling at Barnes & Noble. At the time, the idea I might be autistic was just starting to creep in. I wasn’t really exploring that angle yet, I just thought it sounded like an interesting story. And I was right. But for bigger reasons than I expected. As I read, I identified with a lot of his experiences. Only his life is wayyyyy cooler than mine and that’s part of why his book was so insightful. I was still caught up in a lot of stereotypes about autism and didn’t know much about it. Reading John’s story about touring with KISS and the iconic things he made for them helped me start seeing autism outside of the box others had put it in.
- Special Interest Suggestion: The Mortal Instruments Collection by Cassandra Clare
I’m obsessed with this series. And its prequel series The Infernal Devices. And its sequel series The Dark Artifices. I’ve even read most of the side books written about this universe and am in the process of working my way through The Last Hours, another trilogy within the Shadowhunters universe. Seriously, I have spent many hours of my life reading books from this universe and I will spend many more hours doing so. Cassandra Clare brilliantly weaves so many details that the prequels, sequels, and spin-offs all feel so genuine. They’re woven together so well that it makes you want to go back and re-read books to see what tidbits related to other storylines you missed. I’m not alone. So many people love this series, there have been multiple attempts to turn it into a movie or a series. They all suck. Do I sometimes watch them anyway because it’s a quick dose when I don’t have time to consume a whole book? I’m sorry to say I do.
A Gift for a Journal Junkie
- For the journaler in your life: this Adult Autism Journal could be super useful
This journal has a number of helpful features that can help people with autism manage life a bit better. It can be used alone or alongside work with a therapist to keep track of emotions, triggers, and other helpful information. With a beautiful design, this journal includes mood and symptom trackers, self-care and routine builders, sleep trackers, self-esteem prompts, and more.
Gifts That Give Them Something To Do
- Give them hours of entertainment with a Lego Succulent Kit
I am obsessed with these and want to collect all of Lego’s flower, mini houses, and succulent sets. They’re so cute and we all know I’m always looking for something to do with my hands. They’re not such a big kit that it’s a huge time commitment that consumes your table for weeks on end. Which also means you don’t feel so bad taking them apart. You get the benefit of playing with Legos without becoming a Lego adult living in a Lego museum.
- Special Interest Suggestion: puzzles but with a fun surprise ending!
I love puzzles. I have always loved puzzles, which is why the autism moms insisting on using a puzzle piece to represent the autistic community is simultaneously annoying yet accurate. Albeit accurate for the wrong reasons. Rant aside, if you have a puzzle-loving autistic in your life, you have a lot of gift ideas, depending on their puzzle-loving intensity. There are impossible puzzles that provide a challenge. You could get them a puzzle related to their special interest. Or you could send them on a treasure hunt with a puzzle from the Magic Puzzle Company. Each puzzle is full of beautiful artwork and easter eggs to find as you solve it. With the use of visual illusions, each puzzle does a magic trick at the end, adding a surprise element for puzzle lovers.
Autism Lighting Gifts
- Support the autistic love of soft lighting with this jellyfish lamp
If the autistic adult in your life happens to have a special interest in jellyfish or marine life, this is definitely the perfect gift (and you’re welcome.) However, even without related special interests, this lamp is still a great gift. As different as we all are, I don’t know any autistic person who wouldn’t enjoy this lamp. It’s cute and we’re prone to shamelessly loving cute things, what can I say? There are a few jellyfish lamps available on Amazon but I like this brand specifically because they focused on creating realistic movement of the jellyfish. I find it much more soothing than the ones with fake fish and jellyfish shooting about rapidly in every direction. It also comes with a remote for 18 different color options and in two size options.
- Like the lamp idea but not feeling the fake aquarium? Well, what if I offered you the moon?
This lamp is definitely a vibe-vibe. This Galaxy Moon Light is so pretty. It comes with two different base options and is both remote and touch-controlled. There are 16 color options to choose from, or you can set it to calmly rotate through the color spectrum. With the star galaxy feature, it adds a 3-D effect which makes this lamp even more stunning.
Jewelry Gift Ideas for Autistic Adults
- Anxiety rings are a great gift idea for people with autism
If you’re considering giving an anxiety ring as a gift this holiday season, I have a whole guide for you. It includes a wide variety of fidget rings so you’re sure to find the perfect one for anyone you have in mind. From minimalist anxiety rings to statement rings. From cute and whimsical to loud and proud, there’s something for everyone.
- Are you looking for something cute AND practical? Look no further than these adorable earplug earrings!
When you’re autistic, sounds can be overwhelming. Everything tends to feel louder to us and it can be too much to handle sometimes. Earplugs can be very helpful, but they’re also very easy to lose. That problem is solved with these whimsical mushroom earrings from WookEarplugEarrings on Etsy! These earrings are both cute and practical. The earplugs are connected to the earrings but designed to blend the earplugs in with the cute designs. If Cottage Core isn’t for you, still check out their store because they have a variety of fun designs.
- Give the gift of subtle fidget with this colorful zipper bracelet from Stimmables on Etsy
This fidget bracelet is a unique gift your autistic loved one is sure to love. It’s designed to be quiet so it won’t distract people or draw attention. Wear it around town and have something to fidget with literally on hand. Since you can wear it, you’re less likely to lose it by leaving it somewhere or having it fall out of your pocket. Big plus in my opinion. Stimmables Etsy store has a great variety of unique stim jewelry so I highly recommend checking them out!
- This easily overwhelmed sweatshirt is perfect for well, anyone surviving 2023.
Own your overwhelmedness with this minimalist ‘Easily Overwhelmed’ sweatshirt. With its premium blend cotton, this sweatshirt is cozy and durable, yet breathable. Wearing it, you can subtlety signal to others you may need some extra support and patience.
- This ‘My Bitch Got Autism‘ Hat is hilarious
I laughed out loud when I saw this hat from WickedStitchesWrkshp and immediately added it to my holiday wish list. The store has great reviews that it’s a high-quality product with sturdy embroidery. You can choose between a variety of colors for both the hat and embroidery to make it as unique as your brain.
- Break stereotypes with this ‘Autistic and Ready to Fuck‘ shirt
One stereotype surrounding autism is that we’re uninterested in sex or asexual. While that’s true for some autistics, that’s definitely not the case for all of us. Like everything else with the autism spectrum, sexuality is just that: a spectrum. And that’s exactly why I think this shirt is funny and makes a great gift for the right person.
- Ask what we’re all really wondering with this ‘Are the Neurotypicals Okay?” shirt
I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. It can’t just be me and my ragtag group of neurospicies frequently asking each other this. I’m also just obsessed with this store, SonnetAndSlothStudio on Etsy. The chronic illness humor is so relatable that I want to slowly collect half the store. Because truly, I am Too Autistic for This Shit!
- While we’re running with the neurodivergent humor, how about you Rizz em With The Tism?
If 2023 has brought us one good thing, it’s the evolution of neurodivergent humor. No longer confined to autism awareness or generic ‘support neurodiversity’ shirts, we’re growing into our neurospicy pride and proving to be fairly hilarious. On top of being a solid coping mechanism, humor is a great way to continue breaking autism stereotypes. So go get on out there and Rizz em With the Tism, guys. I’m proud of you.
Sensory Gift Ideas for Autistic Adults
- Loop Earplugs are the ultimate gift for someone sound sensitive
These are truly brilliant. These noise-reduction earplugs are designed to be worn while still holding conversations. They have a cute design that is larger than other earplugs which makes them harder to lose (and there are stores on Etsy that sell cute earrings that clip onto your Loop earrings as an adorable form of loss prevention.) Loop Earplugs come in a variety of colors and noise-reduction levels such as 16 dB & NRR 10 Coverage and 26dB & NRR 14 Noise Cancelling. They also come in different sizes (XS/S/M/L) to ensure a comfortable fit.
Foot Massage at Work? Yes, Please.
- For the autistic adult who struggles to sit still, this foot roller is heaven-sent
Designed with the neurodivergent in mind, this foot roller for restless feet is amazing. If you struggle to stay focused at your desk, this could be the answer you’re looking for. This silent fidget is designed to decrease anxiety and increase focus while offering a nice foot massage. It’s great for people with ADHD, can be used by kids and adults, and works for sitting and standing desks.
- Give the gift of ever-elusive sleep with this sensory Hug Sleep Pod
An alternative to weighted blankets, the Hug Sleep Pod provides calming pressure without all the bulk. It is made of breathable fabric that works for any sleep position and is machine washable. It comes in multiple sizes for both kids and adults. There are also different options based on sensory preferences such as with or without a hood. You can also choose between enclosed and feet-free options.
- If the sleep pod seems too restricting, this two-sided weighted blanket also makes a great gift
Weighted blankets are a great regulating tool and help many autistic people calm down or sleep better. This two-sided option on Amazon is a fantastic option. It comes in a variety of weights ranging from 7 pounds to 30 pounds. Size-wise, you can choose from a lap-sized blanket, all the way up to a king-sized bed. One side of the blanket is a silkier, cooling texture while the other side is short plush and great for keeping warm. There are even a few colors to choose from which makes this a wonderfully versatile weighted blanket.
Gift Ideas for Autistic Adults Who Just Want to Chill
- These candles can be cozy and communicative, even when you’re not
These candles from my Etsy store are the perfect gift for any introvert or autistic adult who needs a break. There are multiple scents and styles to choose from. Each one sends a humorous but honest message: that now is not the time.
- If candles stress you out but you still want to communicate that you’re overwhelmed, this blanket is exactly what you need
I know candles aren’t for everyone. If you’re already overwhelmed, possibly the last thing you need to be in charge of is an open flame. I get it. That’s why I also designed the “This is My Feeling Overwhelmed Blanket‘. Catering to your sensitive sensory needs, this design is available in three styles. Choose from three sizes of velveteen plus, fleece sherpa, or fluffy sherpa.
- Get your favorite introvert what they really want: a wearable blanket
When you deal with executive dysfunction issues, few things are worse than when you’re cozy and warm on the couch and something horrible happens. Like needing to pee or get the water you forgot to drink all day. Being able to just wear your blanket with you and avoid the cold shock is really a game changer. The neurospicy in your life will thank you, I promise you.
- This relaxing tabletop fountain is a great gift idea for autistic adults.
Nature can be a calming and relaxing place for many people with autism. Since being outside isn’t always an option, bring nature inside with this minimalist fountain. The sounds of running water are bound to be soothing and some occasional light water-play is sure to be regulating for an overwhelmed autistic loved one.
Give the Gift of Fidget
I know, I know. This blog started with me complaining about how many people seem to think fidget toys are the only thing autistic people are interested in. I maintain that’s incredibly annoying. Regardless of that annoyance, I’m still going to include some fidget toys because they can truly be so useful.
- This metal fidget toy is a unique take on fidget toys
So many fidget toys are flimsy plastic and not made to last. That’s not the case with this metal fidget toy. The extra weight of this metal fidget toy provides a different sensation than others. It’s also magnetic, adding to how satisfying the sliding mechanism is.
- Tell them it’s okay to get a little touchy…with these texture strips
I love these things. They’re sticker strips you can put on your phone, desk, steering wheel, and all kinds of other places. There are two different tactile patterns in every pack. They are waterproof, tear-resistant, and stretch-resistant. Texture strips can help improve focus and relieve anxiety. With how cute they are, they’re bound to boost a little dopamine too. I like this pack because it comes with so many different cute designs. If you’re more into affirmations or could use some guidance in managing anxiety, you might be more interested in this pack.
- Looking for a gift that’s more outside the box? Speks Geode fidget is a funky evolution of fidget toys
Magnetic yet silent, the Speks Geode Sphere is so much fun to play with. The sphere is made up of pentagons that can be stacked, snapped, built, and snapped. This unique fidget toy brings with it creativity and flexibility. As the geode pieces snap together on every side, you can easily configure it into whatever shape you find most satisfying.
Special Interest Gift Ideas
- This dino-mite waffle maker is sure to be a favorite
Anyone who’s spent a bit of time on this blog knows my love for dinos. This mini waffle maker is so cute and makes little dino waffles! What even needs to be explained here for how awesome this is?
- Brightly colored, but unbreakable cups are a win, IMO
People with autism can get arbitrarily attached to inanimate objects. If something happens to them, it can really throw our routine and ability to regulate. We also tend to be a bit clumsy. We’re not always entirely sure where our body is or how much force we’re using. This is why I tend to prefer plastic/bamboo/wheat straw dishes and cups. If there’s an autistic in your life who feels similarly stressed around breaking dishes, these pretty cups are a fantastic gift idea! Also, side note: should I be alarmed at my age over the fact that I just included cups in my special interest section? Oy.
- And because I’m realizing a love for Newsies seems to be an autistic woman theme, this shirt that truly pulls at my heartstrings is here to close off our list.
If you’re still here and reading these, I love you. If I actually need to explain anything more about this one, let me know in the comments. Newsies for life.