To many parents, holiday shopping in the current economy is all about getting the best deals on the hottest toys.
To parents of autistic children, holiday shopping can be a nightmare. Many parents are already strapped for cash after paying for their child's out-of-pocket medical and therapy costs, they have very little time for anything, much less holiday shopping, and they may have no opportunity to shop without their children in tow, unless they have access to good respite care.
Add in the fact that autistic children may show no interest in or even know how to "play" with the year's hot toys and parents are left completely frazzled.
So what's a parent to do?
Two words: Internet Shopping!
With very few exceptions, every item offered in a store is available somewhere on the internet and parents can browse items at their leisure from the comfort of their home. Many stores offer free shipping options and some internet purchases are sales tax free.
Amazon.com: A simple search under sensory integration yields more than 700 toy options, more than 4,700 books and more than 300 items from other departments; Amazon offers free standard shipping on many items for purchases over $25 (free 2-day shipping for Amazon Prime customers) and purchases are sales tax-free in Georgia.
Sensory Interventions offers some great tactile, fine/gross motor and balance toys, and autism awareness products. Many of these items are under $25; the company provides product reviews; and the company has teamed up with Amazon for 1-stop shopping, secure ordering and Amazon's buying guarantee.
Fat Brain Toys currently features 21 autism related toys, including several sale items.
Beyond Play has three full pages of sensory exploration toys and gifts, including the Spiky Glove, which provides deep pressure and tactile stimulation.
Wholesale clubs, such as Sam's Club, Costco & BJs, and discount stores, such as Walmart, Kmart and Target have excellent websites, good return policies and multiple shipping/pick-up options, including shipping to your home, shipping to your local store or in-store pick-up at a service desk.
On the internet, you can window shop any time of the day or night, quickly and easily compare prices on items at different stores and mark items to watch for future sales.
And, most importantly, for parents of autistic children, internet shopping is relatively stress-free.