Here’s a great article by Rob Szczerba from Forbes magazine for the holidays. I had a client this week who could use the stabilizing utensils – just wish they weren’t so expensive!
Holiday Gift Ideas For People With Disabilities
Dressing aids for people with one hand
The Wright Stuff offers a suite of products that make getting dressed easier for anyone who has lost the use of one of their hands.
Their Dressing Sticks have push-pull hooks and a cushioned handle for help putting on shirts, jackets, trousers, dresses, and skirts.
One-handed belts snap, slide, and secure your belt on their way around your waist. Sock Aids follow in the footsteps of shoe horns, and Elastic Shoelaces only need to be tied once. They even offer one-handed nail clippers.
Tablet apps that do the talking for you
As voice-recognition software has gone mainstream with built-in technology like Apple‘s Siri, there’s been progress in the less-trumpeted area of speech facilitation. Tablet-based apps like Speak For Yourself and Augie AAC put vocabularies of 13,000 words within a few touches on a screen. Additionally, the sound quality is improving, making for more natural voices than the famously artificial voice of Stephen Hawking.
Enabling Devices has an extensive catalog of items for a wide range of disabilities. For visual impairment or diminished motor skills, they offer adapted electronics with enlarged switches that correspond to the tiny buttons on devices like iPods and keyboards. There’s a particularly strong suite of accessories for iPad accessibility.
For people with medical conditions that cause hand tremors, such as essential tremor (ET) or Parkinson’s disease, using everyday items such as food utensils can be difficult. Now, with emerging technology known as active cancellation of tremor (ACT), tiny sensors detect movements in real time and produce fast, precise counter-movements. This antagonistic action reduces tremor amplitude and severity, essentially canceling out some of the problematic tremors. A good example of ACT is a product called Liftware, designed by the San Francisco health tech firm Lift Labs. (Lift Labs was bought by Google earlier this year.) Their product resembles traditional silverware with an oversized handle that contains the electronic sensors, making it much easier to accurately move food from plate to mouth.
Vehicle hand controls
Automotive adaptive controls can greatly reduce the physical effort needed to operate existing automobile controls like steering wheels. They can also extend the person’s reach so that turn signals and foot pedals are easily accessible. Additional features can include swivel seats, wheelchair hoist systems, and more.
Home medical devices with style
When dealing with chronic health problems, your home or workplace can become cluttered with medical equipment that, to put it nicely, lacks aesthetic appeal. A lot of it can be just plain ugly. Ease Living sells a line of products that aims to change that. Items for purchase on their website include basketweave commode chairs, fashionable medical ID bracelets, and stylish shower seats and grab bars.
When dealing with chronic disease or physical disabilities, little things can mean a lot. Whether or not this list includes something helpful for you or your loved one, there’s still many more products to explore at these websites and through a simple online search.