Well, here we are again. Those of us with children who have visual impairments are desperately searching for the best holiday present ever. The only problem is that we have no idea where to start. I look at my son’s room full of musical instruments, funny sounding stuffed animals, CD’s, and braille books galore and do not know what direction to take next. It seems I’ve already covered most categories.
It isn’t simply his blindness that makes him hard to shop for, but also his developmental age. He doesn’t grow by leaps and bounds annually, so he still likes the same types of things that he did last year. It isn’t like my 8-year-old who wanted Barbie toys last year, and this year has moved onto teenage stars of Disney. Her new preferences give me new present ideas, but I can’t use that strategy with Eddie. He loves all the same things now that he did when he was three, and I’ve purchased about everything I want to in that age category.
Yes, I try to push him with toys that will expand his horizons and expect more of him, but I also want to get things he’ll really love. None of us wanted a stocking full of math books when we were kids, and constantly buying toys for educational purposes simply sounds wrong. Of course, I’ll sneak a couple in, but there should also be some things that are “just for fun”.
If he could communicate his wants better, I’d simply ask him what he wants this holiday season, but this is yet another struggle with my darling Eddie. He is learning how to ask for basic needs like food and water, so I think asking for a Drum-set may be beyond his capabilities at this time. I must say, after listening to his sisters constantly asking Santa for everything they see on T.V., I’m sort of grateful I don’t have to hear that from Eddie, too.
Even though shopping for Eddie is hard, it is also a joy when I find the right thing. Here are a few things that I have gathered so far this shopping season: lap harp from Toys R Us, shapes and sounds puzzle from Exceptional Teaching, t-shirt with a Drum-set that works when you beat on it from Old Navy, a talking clock from Perkins, a Mickey mouse sing-a-ma-jig from Wal-mart, and some books from National Braille Press.
Now that I’ve thrown my list out there, I’m begging you to do the same. If you find a great holiday gift, or simply have an idea that worked for you and your child in the past, then PLEASE SHARE! I will be so grateful for any new ideas, and I’m sure other parents will feel the same. Hopefully, there will be many comments on this posting to help make the holidays unforgettable for our children with visual impairments.