As a dyspraxic, I find giving and receiving gifts can be a source of anxiety. I love finding thoughtful gifts for family and friends almost as much as I hate wrapping them. On the flip side home organisation does not come naturally and the idea that I may have more things entering my space, things I did not choose, is not something I relish.
If you’re close with someone with dyspraxia, consider offering them a gift that’s thoughtful and has the potential to enrich their lives without adding clutter or stress.
1) A subscription to your local auto club
If your dyspraxic loved one is a driver, an auto club membership offering roadside assistance has the potential to save them (and you!) all kinds of time and frustration. I’m embarrassed by the number of times I’ve left my car’s lights on and drained the battery. When I have to drive an unfamiliar car I nearly always end up needing a jump. A membership to an auto club can provide convenience and peace of mind.
2) Gift certificates to a tailor or laundry service
Would I use a voucher for a tailor? Yes. Would I maybe use it to have buttons sewn back onto things and have minor repairs performed? Also yes.
3) A fun subscription or app
This gift works for everyone, dyspraxic or otherwise. Consider buying a subscription to a streaming service, a shopping membership, or purchase an app that you think will bring joy without clutter.
4) Vouchers for fitness classes
Not everyone with dyspraxia is comfortable in a group fitness setting but some, like me, really enjoy them. I know I’d love to receive passes for yoga classes or swimming.
What I’d like even more is for a friend to offer to take me to the classes. Many people with dyspraxia are self-conscious in fitness classes and the group exercise environment may be difficult on a sensory level. I even find that I’m more nervous driving to and from fitness classes since they spike my anxiety, but I still find them rewarding. Bringing a trusted friend or family member can make the whole experience much gentler for some. Had I not had an escort for my first several yoga classes I would never have been brave enough to attend.
4) Cleaning services
If someone were to buy me a gift certificate to have my place cleaned from a reputable, bonded cleaning service I’d be thrilled. I had maid service for a while and it felt like the height of decadence. Because of my dyspraxia I’m seldom able to get the surfaces in my apartment pristine and streak-free no matter how much I clean and that’s where professional cleaners are really ableto shine.
Of course, not everyone is comfortable letting someone else clean their home. If you think this is something your loved one would be open to, consider it as a gift option. You may also consider offering to help with the cleaning yourself. It’s a much more affordable option and it may be more comfortable for the dyspraxic.
With this and all other in-home services on the list you will want to find someone with good references. You may want to go to a local charity specializing in seniors to easily find someone reputable. Many non-profit senior’s groups keep lists of safe and helpful service people in the community. This can also be a great way to support local entrepreneurs rather than going with a larger company for safety.
5) Spa gift certificates
This one is tricky as many dyspraxics have sensory issues that may make it difficult for them to receive salon services that may benefit them. I hate having my hair cut, but I love having a good base cut since it makes it possible for my hair to look decent in spite of my inability to style it.
I also love getting mani-pedis as gifts. When I paint my nails they look like they were done by a child, and every time I cut my own toenails they end up ingrown. So I’m willing to deal with the torture that is a stranger touching me if it means my nails are healthy and the polish is only on the nails rather than all the way up my arm.
6) Regular gift certificates
Just like anyone else, a person with dyspraxia might like a gift certificate to somewhere they shop regularly or a certificate to a restaurant or movie theatre.
I often give friends with children a movie vouchers that include popcorn and pop. I even offer to babysit when buying for friends with children so they can enjoy an evening out that is truly free.
7) Handyman Services
Home repairs can be beyond daunting particularly when you have dyspraxia. I chose to purchase a condo and I still struggle with basic indoor home repairs and improvements.
8) Lawncare or snow removal services
Snow removal is a pain at best and a potential accident at worst. Imagine trying to navigate ice and snow while wielding a heavy shovel when you have trouble not tripping over your own feet under the best of circumstances.
Ditto with lawn care. Except there are also blades.
9) Occupational therapy
This one would require quite the budget but it may be the most helpful. If I had unlimited money I would love to have an occupational therapist helpfully follow me around and make a list of things I’m doing wrong without knowing it. I was 22 when I learned how to blow my nose and I’d welcome anyone who could help me find similar issues so I can resolve them.
10) Your time and patience
Does the dyspraxic person in your life constantly ask for help with something? From basic mending to home organization they may need your help but are afraid to ask. A thoughtful card, with a genuine offer to help in any way needed without judgement, may be the perfect gift to make your dyspraxic feel loved and supported.
If it’s more appropriate to your skills, budget and relationship consider offering to provide some of the services I’ve listed yourself. Be flexible and open to requests but start by offering specific examples (like the ones on this list) as a starting point since asking for help can be daunting.
Honourable Mention: Aids typically used by the elderly
If you feel that you must buy something physical, consider something small and practical. Many products designed for those with arthritis or limited mobility can be useful for helping people with dyspraxia as well.
For example, I’m dying to find the perfect can opener and I’m on the lookout for a vegetable peeler that I can use in spite of my poor finger strength and co-ordination.
A Note: The gifts I’m suggesting are quite personal so, as with any gift, make sure that what you give is right for the person you’re buying for. No one wants a gift that’s really a veiled hint and people with dyspraxia can be particularly self-conscious. So, please make sure that gifts are chosen with kindness and sensitivity and give gifts privately whenever possible to avoid embarrassment.