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The 2 most inappropriate gifts my ASD son has ever gotten…both given byautism moms?!

(originally written & published on March 18, 2013)
The two most inappropriate gifts that my son Kyle has ever gotten both came from fellow autism parents who should have known better!  
Kyle is non verbal and severely autistic as y’all already know by now.  And the rest of his class is along the same lines.  Severely autistic kids, mostly non-verbal.
So there was a bd party for another kid in the class today.  And I guess the kid’s mom brought in cupcakes cuz I heard reports from the wife via the king’s 1:1 aide that my son ate two cupcakes today!  Woo-hoo!
So, the inappropriate gift?
The mom sent home a party favor to every kid in the class.  Very thoughtful…but unecessary.  And here was the party favor gift that we got in his backpack today…

A book about Martin Luther King Jr.  Nothing wrong with that… for a typical kid!!??!!  But probably everyone in the class are still reading toddler books!  (My son is still eating toddler books 🙂  Not age appropriate history books!  WTF?!  Don’t you know your own kid?  
Now I know there’s gonna be people that’ll say that we should give our ASD kids something to strive for and age up with them and we should stop infantilizing our kids….  
But an MLK book with quotes from the good doctor?!  Come on!!
But that’s not even the worst most inapproriate gift my kid has gotten.  The most inappropriate gift my kid has gotten still “boggles” my mind!  At the king’s birthday party 2 years back my son was given the game “Boggle” by a different autism mom…the mom of one his classmates at his previous school!  
You know the complicated word game Boggle (‘ages 8 and up”) with the little dice shaped pieces with letters all over them.

My son would have those in his mouth in a freaking heartbeat!  And I know the kid who’s mom gave us the Boggle.  He’s not playing Boggle any time soon either.  🙂  I think he’d be swallowing the pieces too!  
C’mon moms, don’t you know our kids yet?  They’re 9 years old!  If you waited to the last minute to get a gift and “Boggle” was the only thing in the drug store where you bought the birthday card,  I get it.  We’ve been there before.  In fact, we’re always there getting gifts last minute, on the way to the party….  But put the Boggle down and just put $ in an envelope.  
Ok, that is all.  Short post tonight cuz I gotta run.  It’s almost the king’s bedtime and tonight I’m gonna sit him down and read him a great bedtime story…all about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.



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Written by

Frank Campagna

I’m a 48 year old neurotypical dad with a 14 year old son with severe, non-verbal autism & epilepsy. I created this blog to rant about autism & epilepsy while celebrating my son who I affectionately call “the king” :-).

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31 People Replies to “The 2 most inappropriate gifts my ASD son has ever gotten…both given byautism moms?!”

  1. Haven't you heard of "presuming competence"? Just Kidding. But I'm sure there's somebody out there that is thinking that!

  2. Low Budget Dave

    Autism parents can be easy to offend. If someone gives us a toddler toy, we get offended because it is implies that he can't understand big kid's toys. (We get even more offended, when he proceeds to play with the toddler toy for five hours.)

    We might also get offended if someone sends us a book that is too long, too advanced, or too full of typical kids doing typical things.

    Take it with a grain of salt. There are so much more important things to get offended about that gifts hardly matter. Instead, spend a few minutes looking up the state of funding in America for group homes. You won't have any rage left over.

  3. Jayne

    What an hilarious post, my eyes are still wet from laughing. What are these parents on?! Hope Kyle strikes lucky at his next party. Wishing you all the best.

  4. Anonymous

    I must be evil as I couldnt stop laughing
    Seriously MLK and Boggle LMAO

    Grtz Wendy

  5. who in the he'll gives a political book as a bday party gift bag gift anyway? I do happen to agree w Dr. King and his message, but I don't expect everyone whose in my kids class to. I actually respect other people's rights to disagree w what I believe in. how inappropriate and self centered. it's your kids bday party, not an opportunity to express your personal beliefs!!!

  6. Anonymous

    My kid likes all books, not just baby/toddler books. He like the pictures, mostly, so we get old landscape and art books and such from goodwill. However he also likes my mom's old encyclopedias. I think it's the lines of print or something.

  7. Lol! ASD or not, thinking of 9 year old ME…… Opening this party gift would be super disappointing….. Nothing wrong with history books, but come on! Stay away from her house on Halloween!

  8. Anonymous

    My son would have loved the rattle noise.. his sensory issues dont apply to the noise HE makes. .lol.

  9. Anonymous

    Hahaha.So funny!Love your blog.

  10. Anonymous

    lol My son is 3, almost 4 and my son gets many inappropriate gifts. I agree with the anonymous poster who said its the thought that counts, as I'd never think twice about it if it was given by someone who didn't understand autism. Though in some cases it should really be obvious. Last year my son was given a fishing pole 😛 Yeah, I'm really planning to take my non verbal autistic son who has no sense of fear and runs off whenever he can, and doesn't know how to swim, to an open body of water. lol -Elizabeth

  11. Anonymous

    What is it that our parents would teach us? It's not the gift, but the thought that counts. I would just be thankful that someone thought of my son and gave him a gift. Were they inappropriate? Depends on how you look at it. Should a fellow ASD parent "know better" maybe so. However my son has been left out of parties and gift giving so many times, that I would be happy that someone was at least thinking of him and trying.

  12. Anonymous

    Quite frankly every gift my son gets is inapropreate! He is verbal and has an above average IQ but is only interested in certain things. The best thing I ever bought him was a sterio…..he took the thing to pieces and built it back up again. Childrens toys of any kind do not interest him at all!

  13. Anonymous

    So you ever feel your kid is shorted in the gift department compared to the other ones in your extended family? The inequity of gift giving? I do. I feel that because mine can't respond like a typical kid, the adults don't get the gratification they desire, so they get inappropriate gifts, junk or even less money. Or worse, no gift at all! It hurts, especially when I know other nieces, nephews and grandchildren are receiving gifts and and sometimes I am even told about it! I could care less about the gift, it's the singling out, the being treated differently that makes it so hurtful. One of my sisters sends very inexpensive gifts, sometimes just girl scout cookies, but she never forgets and is often the only one in my family to do it. It means the world to me and I tell her so!

    1. This exactly! It's about feeling included.

  14. Anonymous

    My daughter loves giving people gifts at Christmas and Birthdays and wasn't sure what to give my son this Christmas. I said straws (as in hay type of straw) since thats what he really likes to play with. So she carefully collected some and then wrapped them up in a pink ribbon, and of course he was very happy with that and immediately ignored everything else he had been given which was only vaguely of interest!

  15. Anonymous

    thank you for making me laugh tonight. i am new to getting your blog and you make me laugh which is VERY necessary and MUCH needed sometimes in the journey with autism. the gift thing is always so hard. family members always ask what to get our son who is 5 and non verbal. I get anxiety around the holidays and his birthday. Gift cards is always my answer or apple gift card. He's got a lot of gift cards stored up 🙂

  16. Anonymous

    So funny, I learned to just tell people exactly what we need. It's usually not offensive because I put it in the context of "therapy". Can't control favors, but one lesson I learned is that not everyone "gets" autism, even parents of asd kids, I think that actually that was one of my hardest lessons learned 🙂

  17. Anonymous

    my kid would probably love shaking that boggle game. He is a sensory seeker all the way…if there isn't enough noise in the environment for him he'll find a way to make some.

    1. Anonymous

      My son as well, he'll play his games on iPad all noisy, he'll turn on his CD Player to listen to music, then he'll want the TV on to his favorite show "Bubble Guppies" all at the same time.

  18. Lol your post cracked me up:) thanks for the smile on ce again AD

  19. Anonymous

    the book was prob free- the game a re gift-

  20. Anonymous

    I feel like every gift is inappropriate. This past xmas, even my own husband bought him things that were intended for a smaller child. My in-laws to family bought him things that he hasn't even considered playing with. A toy golf set (for a smaller child), books, games…I get it. it's hard for me too. I almost broke down bawling in a Toys R Us our first xmas, but damn, money, special needs stores, clothes. There are better things for all of us to spend on our money on when a kid doesn't play with toys.

    1. My 4yr old daughter isn't interested in wrapped gifts at all. We try and try and then you need to let her run away from the commotion. I won't quit trying, but when her interests are a collection of empty shampoo containers, her kindle and a bunch of dog chewed foam letters, the wicked looking blue haired La-La-Loopsie ain't gonna win her over.

      The best gift is time spent with our kids with a side of tickles (if they can handle it).

    2. Anonymous

      I know exactly what you mean. I feel like I can't win: the toys she likes are for kids much younger than her, her aunts (in laws) bought her things that were completely too complex for her and are now just ignoring her. My brothers give us iTunes gift cards so we can load up the iPad…probably one of the few perfect gifts.

  21. People are usually trying to be nice by getting AGE appropriate toys instead of developmentally age appropriate toys. Sometimes it pays not to be politically correct all the time and get something the kid will actually appreciate!

    BTW… we have that book and haven't tried it with James yet. Maybe in a few years.

  22. Mary H

    That should put him to sleep fast lol. My son would love that book…it has lots of nice shiny pages to eat. And I do know for a fact that dice pass through the digestive system and come out in the same condition they went in.

  23. Have you actually OPENED the Boggle game? 1) The letters are permanently in there. They do not come out. 2) It makes an awesome noise when you shake it and if you press the button it beeps too! It's all in the way that you look at it, but it could be a super fun musical instrument!

    1. Depends on the sensory disorder. Mine is a sensory seeker. And we have that exact Boggle. The letters do not come out. It's not the old fashioned one.

    2. Great idea. Noise that interferes with sensory issues! Sorry yes that was sarcasm. My kids have had a Boggle game and there are pieces that are quite "tasty" to eat. Both of my children are ASD. Also the sounds are definitely not one for sensory disorder. 🙁