Hey, thanks for responding. I actually played a Handsonic HPD20 for a good amount of time at a shop. Fun piece of equipment. In this case though it is definitely not the type of thing we would like. He has decent hand/arm coordination and (before the pandemic) any time we would go to a music store, he would ask to sit down at a drum set and try to play. He can play a little as it is. So something in the drum set format is the way we want to go. I myself love hand percussion, but I don't think it's the right route to take in this case.
Turns out that Guitar Center has decided to screw people over with shipping...their Simmons SD600 set, on sale for $399, needs $140 of shipping. Not happening lol. Plus taxes it would be $590 for a $399 drum set. I think not.
I ordered the Alesis Nitro Mesh from SW and they threw in a $50 PDP drum throne for free as part of their Black Friday promotion to boot. Added two sets of nylon-tipped drum sticks, and all that totaled plus tax and free shipping was still cheaper than what Guitar Center wanted to charge me for the Simmons drum set plus shipping (and this wasn't including a throne or sticks either) at $429. Silliness.
I've played a few Alesis sets previously (Command and Forge), as well as the other usual suspects under $1000 as of a few years ago (Roland TD-11, TD4, Yamaha DTX 522K, DTX 450K, KAT Percussion KT1) as well as some nicer sets (Roland TD-25KV, KAT Percussion KT4) and some older ones (Yamaha DTXpress III, DTXplorer). I'm not expecting it to be perfect, in fact the cymbals and hi hat will probably feel like crap, but SW has an extra 2 year warranty so I'm thinking that will balance out well enough. Plus those pads can be used with other sets later on, *and* the Nitro module actually supports dual triggers for all the toms even though they aren't included, and 5-pin midi + USB midi (so good for hooking up to other modules and/or a computer someday). So hopefully it will do the job and he won't outgrow it too quickly, plus it is expandable in the future and components are re-usable.