Shopping for accessible gifts is so easy, thanks to the Internet. You can search the entire world for pressies and have them delivered to your door. But as Christmas is so close, we’re going to stick to those a little closer to home.
Take a look at our suggestions for people who live with a disability, and in some cases, for family members who care for them.
Accessible smart gifts
These products were not specifically designed for accessibility, but they sure have found additional noble purposes!
Smartphones and smart watches
Whether it’s Apple or Android, smartphones and smart watches are often an untapped well of functions, some that most people never use. Both platforms have emergency features such as SOS calls and the facility to access critical medical information and ICE (in case of emergency) contacts for if the wearer is unresponsive.
Find my iPhone and other ‘find my’ systems are invaluable for being able to track your loved one’s whereabouts. Apple Watch’s fall detection function taps the wearer on the wrist, sounds an alarm and displays an alert. If immobile for a minute, it calls emergency services automatically. Here are some more medical alert smartwatches.
‘Smart home’ systems
By now, the world is on board with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit. They enable so many functions to be performed by voice: “Alexa, turn on the living room light.” These systems provide greater independence for people who live with disabilities. Turn on the TV, fans, lights and speakers, adjust the air conditioner temperature, open curtains, blinds or the garage door and activate and deactivate the security system.
For those who have limited dexterity, even the front door can be locked and unlocked without a key. A simple touchscreen keypad can be tapped or your smartphone or Siri voice command can be used!
Being confined to bed or not being able to reach the door when the doorbell rings can be a problem, especially if it means having to pick up a parcel at the post office later. The ‘Ring’ doorbell is the answer as it has a motion-sensor camera. Any time someone rings the doorbell, you will see who’s at the door on your smartphone and you can speak to them in real time. Ask them to leave the parcel at the door or have them wait until you get there. You can even answer it if you’re not home!
Sheepskin car accessories
Sheepskin is a delight for those who have sensory needs. Sheepskin Tailors make beautiful custom car seat covers out of 100% natural sheepskin and can tailor them to any specific requirements. Their sheepskin car seat belt covers are soft, comforting and keep seat belts from ‘digging in’ on passengers’ necks. Just $24.90, delivered free within Australia.
Weighted blanket and therapy pod
A weighted blanket brings comfort and peace to many people. At Therapy Blanket, they are available in a range of weights and with washable covers. Otherwise, how about a Therapy Pod, described as “Australia’s comfiest cloud”? It’s like a big bean bag but provides the perfect balance between support and sinking
Body Socks are a fun, colourful gift, designed for individuals with autism, additional sensory needs and anxiety. Made in Australia from a breathable, see-through lycra, they are soft and comfy and have no harsh Velcro. They provide the ideal ‘cocoon’ for sensory escape. The company also offers Bed Socks, Lycra Tunnels and more.
Never underestimate the value of practical gifts. Your recipient will appreciate the thought you put into your Chrissy shopping, to find ways that make life a little easier.
Whether for a wheelchair, bed or tabletop, these iPad accessories are helpful
“Give the gift of independence” is the welcome catchcry of independent living solutions retailer, www.leef.com.au. They stock an impressive range of products that can simplify tasks and provide greater comfort, from handy jar openers through to gorgeous recliners and remote-controlled riser chairs. Leef recommends ordering by 12th December for Christmas delivery.
Tough, highly flexible sunnies
Accessible gifts around kids
Kids with ASD enjoy toys that can be squished, pushed, pulled, twisted and chewed. Tactile toys are not just fun, they’re incredibly comforting. Check out the Mensa Haptic Cube which, instead of a Rubik’s Cube with six different coloured sides, every side has a different texture. Sister Sensory has a vast array of ASD-friendly toys, educational products and sensory items like chewers, textured spoons and scented gel pens.
Visit Lumi Nightlights for an outstanding selection of night lights for all ages. There’s one that projects stars onto the ceiling, many that are plush and cuddly and others that play music.
Source Kids subscription
Parents of children with disability may appreciate a subscription to Source Kids magazine. It’s a glossy, national publication and will arrive in your recipient’s letterbox every quarter. At just $35, it’s an affordable and very useful gift. It offers information around accessible events, valuable services, NDIS, games, educational activities, home hacks, resources, products, parenting, recipes and so much more. Source Kids addresses intellectual and physical disabilities. Even the advertisements are enlightening for parents of children living with disabilities.
Blind and vision impaired
At Zazzle, you can get braille t-shirts, greeting cards and coffee mugs. Medshop has talking kitchen scales for those keen bakers. Vision Australia offers the Sunu Band, a mobility smart-band that has an inbuilt sonar feature to help detect and navigate around objects at and above waist height.
Deaf and hard of hearing
Books written by people with a disability
- Say Hello – Carly Findlay
- Face It (Facial Disfigurement and My Fight for Face Equality) – James Partridge
- Disability Visibility (First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century)
- Cheeky Dogs to Lake Nash and Back – Dion Beasley and Johanna Bell
Last-minute gifts from wherever you are
If it’s really last-minute or you don’t live close enough to drop off a gift, why not consider purchasing a membership, subscription or tickets for your loved one? Most of these can be purchased online and emailed to the recipient. When they decide to use it, they may like to engage their support worker from the Mable platform to take them to events or activities you’ve gifted them.
- Book a treatment such as an in-home massage or a facial, manicure/pedicure.
- Purchase a season pass to their favourite sports club.
- Buy Gold Class tickets to their local cinema.
- Gift them membership to their favourite museum or art gallery.
- Pay for a weekend away at an accessible hotel or resort.
- Book tickets for accessible seating at an upcoming concert or comedy or dance performance.
The gift of companionship and support
When you can’t be there to provide companionship and support, your loved one can use Mable to connect with independent support workers.
During the holiday season, it can be tricky to find the perfect gift for a loved one who lives with a disability. Mable has compiled an inspiring list of accessible gifts that are practical, fun, comforting, educational or techie. There’s something for all ages and a range of budgets. Take a look!