The Best Gift


Emma Dalmayne


Have you ever gone shopping for birthday or Christmas present’s and ended up leaving the shop in tears?

That was me two years ago. You see my little girl is going through the assessment process for Autism, nothing new to me as my other children are on the spectrum as am I.

This time though, this was hard.

I had saved up and it was four days before Christmas, I had bought my daughter nothing as of yet as she displayed an interest in little.

I took her to a popular children's store which sells toys and clothes, and as I walked around praying no one would look into her eyes and cause a meltdown it hit me.

Among all the expensive beautifully boxed dolls, prams and little dresses there was nothing, nothing she would play with!

Every mother wants to be able to buy her little girl her first doll, and watch them cuddle them and put them into a little pram. My little girl however had only one use for dolls and that was to throw them or drag them along by their hair.

The clothes didn't appeal to her as she screamed as if in pain when I changed her clothing so only the softest materials would be tolerated no flouncy dresses.

I left the shop in tears with nothing for her.

I cried that she wouldn't have presents under the tree that she would like.

Then it hit me! I would buy her things she did like, they weren't conventional and no they weren't typical but my little sweetheart is not typical, she's Neurodiverse.

I went back in and got her the most expensive dolly in the shop ( just in case) , then went to a household goods shop and got her some wooden spoons, sponges with scratchy backing which she loved to suck and a metal bar of soap,for removing odours which I knew she'd fall in love with as she loves the taste of metal and lastly some brightly coloured scrubbers.

Christmas morning dawned and after having support to open her presents as she would be worried by opening the paper she played with, and only with her new sensory items.

The doll? Well, she's never played with it.

The moral being don't look at convention don't attempt to be typical with spectrum children's gifts. They are not Neurotypical children and may want different thing.

Just because our children aren't playing with the new must have toy it means little as long as they are stimulated and happy.

As for me crying I look back and regret it, as my darling was perfectly happy that morning and what was I actually crying for anyway? Funnily enough now she adores princess dresses and tiaras, but still will not play with dolls.

The best gift I have is that she's happy and that is all I could ask for.

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