Accessing Potential Through Assistive Technology
Gifting Guide Day 25: Switch Adapted Toys

Playing is an essential part of child growth and development. Learning to activate a toy teaches a child cause/effect and choice making…two essential skills for communication. For children with disabilities who cannot activate the buttons and controls on toys through typical means, we recommend a switch adapted toy. When a toy is switch adapted that means that the internal switches are modified with an external connection to an ability button. Ability buttons can come in a variety of sizes, colors, and means of activation to suit the child’s needs. The buttons can be positioned such that the child can activate it with a hand, foot, elbow, head, etc….whatever the child can use to best target!

Check out the resources below to learn more about switch adapted toys!

variety of switch adapted toys

There are several assistive technology vendors that sell toys that are already modified with a switch jack for an ability button. Vendors like Enabling Devices. Adaptive Tech Solutions, or Ablenet Inc are reliable sources for toys that have already been modified.

Switch adapted toys can be costly, and families with disabled children are already overwhelmed with expenses. Guardians may only be able to purchase one or two switch adapted toys for the child which is why it makes a great gift!

a variety of ability buttons from Ablenet

Don’t forget the ability buttons! In order to utilize a switch adapted toy you also need the ability buttons (external switches). These can also be costly depending on the type but the good news is they are interchangeable with the toy. Depending on the child they may need 2 to 4 switches to start with. Consult with local AT specialists like a speech language pathologist, occupational or physical therapist, or a rehab engineer to determine the right type of button for the child. Vendors like Enabling Devices or Ablenet Inc are reliable sources for ability buttons though there are many options online.

Teddy bear being switch modified

Unfortunately since the vendors who sell pre modified toys are incurring the cost of the toy, the cost of supplies, and charging for the labor and redistribution…the cost of a toy that is modified can be 3-4 times the cost of the original toy.

Thankfully, with less than $10 and some basic electrical and soldering skills you can learn to modify your own toys and save a lot of cash!

Do your research though! Make sure you understand what types of toys can be modified easily and how to complete the process before jumping in. There is no shortage of instruction guides online and soon we’ll have more posted here on! Until then take a look at AT Makers website as well as an older Adapting Toys blog post from that provides step by step instructions on switch adapting a toy.

Gifting Guide Day 24: Kitchen Gadgets

Holiday meals are one of the star features when getting together with friends and family. However, some tasks may be difficult for some. Whether it’s during prepping, cooking, eating, or cleaning, we could all use some help. You may be a seasoned chef in need of large-print tools, someone having difficulty with opening jars, someone with an upper extremity amputation or injury, or you just want to make some tasks less of a hassle. Here are some kitchen gadgets for you to consider as a gift to yourself or someone else!

The items listed below are not limited to one specific vendor. Do an online search for similar items. Many are even available on Amazon, online assistive technology stores, or your local pharmacies or big box store!

Image of measuring spoons with large print measurements

Measuring cups and spoons with large print would be great for someone with low vision.

Table top magnifying glass

A magnifying glass stand could also be helpful when reading labels or recipes.

An electric can opener could help save time and eliminate the frustration and physical pain of operating a manual can opener.

Image of automatic pump inserts for beverage jugs

These automatic drink dispenser pumps eliminate having to twist open a cap and picking up and tilting a heavy gallon of milk, juice, or beverage when pouring yourself a drink.

cutting board with a variety of holders for safe cutting

A one-handed cutting board could be useful for someone with an upper extremity amputation, weakness, loss of function or even a recent injury. He or she could prep ingredients independently using this specialized cutting board.

Image of a pickle jar in a wedge gripper for opening jars

This solo-grip non-slip jar opener could also be useful when you only have one hand available.

Clip on silicone strainer attached to a pot

A clip-on strainer is easy to apply to a pot or pan and allows you to grab the handle with one or two hands when straining your food.  

Two suction cup brushes attached in sink

These suction cup brushes are helpful when trying to wash a cup or small dish single handedly.  Perhaps the sink is not wheelchair accessible and reaching over to the side prevents you from easily using both hands to wash a dish.

Yellow scoop plate with user scooping peas and carrots

Scooping plates are great for anyone needing a little extra help when scooping up food on their plate. When used in combination with angled, weighted, or other adapted utensils if needed, these plates allow the user to be more successfully independent during meals.

Image of kitchen with anti fatigue mats in front of counters

Lastly, an anti-fatigue kitchen mat would help reduce any leg or back pain or discomfort that usually comes with having to stand long hours while preparing a holiday meal.

Gifting Guide Day 23: Accessibility in Video Games

For many years the answer to accessibility in the video game world revolved around providing controller access for players with varying abilities. This often meant several days 3D printing, soldering, fiddling with interfaces, and general frustration. The industry turned upside down with Microsoft’s introduction of the Adaptive Controller. Gamers could finally interact with just about any game in a plug-and-play manner. If you had buttons and/or a joystick positioned in a comfortable position, the Adaptive controller could accept the input and allow you to be transported into the endless worlds of gaming…

…As long as you could actually play the game. While many individuals could now manipulate controls, game developers were still treating accessibility features on the software side as an afterthought. Hopefully gamers wouldn’t need subtitles in large, easy to read font to catch important lore information. In a similar vein, why would they need to adjust the UI settings? It’s not like you would ever be playing on something other than a large TV or monitor or at a distance farther than a few feet away. Gamers are also known for their love of mountain dew resulting in quick reaction times and the ability to play for hours at a time. No need for aim assist or reasonably spaced save points. Thankfully this mindset is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

In the past year alone, we have gotten games with the ability to not only have subtitles but fully customize their font, color, background opacity, and more. Similar features exist to customize menu buttons. Need help visualizing who the bad guys are? One developer introduced a filter that would highlight them with a high-contrast color of your choice, the same for the good guys and scenery. Remember when you had to choose between easy, normal, and hard? Some developers now let you customize specific elements down to how fast animations play, characters move, damage is dealt, and a variety of other options. Motion control required for solving puzzles or performing tricky actions? Many games now allow you to turn the feature off or make it button controlled. Speaking of which, custom button/keyboard mapping has entered a new galaxy. Gone are the days of having to twist your fingers or use your third hand to be able to pull off various moves. Want to have one input act as a sequence of presses, there’s a game that will allow it. Don’t want to fiddle between holding, tapping, and pressing a button which would result in different results, you can probably reconfigure it.

While not all games and developers can accommodate all the mentioned features, or the hundreds not covered in this post, it is quickly becoming the case where accessibility is the standard. Game designers are producing games built around accessibility features rather than tacking them on at the end. The video game world is embracing that gamers come in all forms and living up to Microsoft’s mantra, Gaming for Everyone. Post inspired by Game Maker’s Toolkit, please watch their video on the subject.

Find out more:

Gifting Guide Day 22: Adapted Sailing Products

It wouldn’t be a gift-giving season without a request for sailing gear or boat parts. There is no such thing as a day wasted on the water, and there is nothing like sailing in a stiff breeze to clear one’s mind and calm one’s soul.

Man sailing a sip and puff controlled sailboat with crew.

Any boat can be adapted, sailed, and raced by people with various disabilities. I remember watching Nick Scandone win the gold medal for the USA with his teammate Maureen McKinnon-Tucker sailing a SCUD-18 in the 2008 Paralympic Games. Nick, who had ALS, was sailing as a Classification 1, the most severe mobility limitation. He drove the boat, and had the highest tech setup I’ve ever seen on an adapted sailboat. Incidentally, Nick is also the only Paralympic sailor to win the US Sailing’s Yachtsman of the Year.

Visit for interviews with adapted sailors.

Type 1 Personal Floatation Device with neck support designed to turn a person face up in the water.

Safety First

One of the essential pieces of sailing gear is an excellent Personal Floatation Device (PFD) or life jacket. Type 1 PFDs provide the most floatation, and most will turn an unconscious person face-up out of the water. A Type 1 PFD is what we would recommend for someone with limited motor function, poor coordination, or for sailing in extreme conditions. Many mainstream retailers sell this type of device, such as West Marine:–type-i-comfort-deluxe-life-jacket–15911373?recordNum=3 . There are also some specialty companies, such as Lifejackets Adapted (, that sell PFDs for people with specific needs.

Wetsuit that has been adapted for a person with a left left amputation.

What to Wear

Some sailors like to wear wetsuits depending on where and what type of boat they sail. Wetsuits help insulate and retain heat when sailing in wet boats (racing dighys) in cold waters, such as when “frostbite” sailing. A wetsuit needs to be tight and fit properly to work, which can be difficult for some people with disabilities. There are specialty companies that can modify wetsuits to fit based on their needs, such as Terrapin Wetsuits ( out of Texas. Check them out if you enjoy sailing in cold weather (or diving or surfing) and need help getting a wetsuit that fits.

Power linear actuator attached to a modified tiller, which is a stick that attached to the boat's rudder and controls its direction.

High Tech Driving

This article explains how the tiller, which is what controls the rudder and thus the direction of a sailboat, can be adapted for control with a joystick or sip-n-puff system. It is essentially a weatherproof linear actuator and electronics connected to a modified tiller.

Sip-n-Puff /Joystick Tiller Steering:

Example of a solid captains seat with lateral side supports that could be added to a boat with seat belt for a person with poor leg and trunk support.

Comfortable and Secure Seating

Another idea for people with limited leg and trunk support is to install fixed seats with seat belts or straps into the cockpit of a keel boat. A non-folding high back helm seat, such as: , could be a good choice.

Fixed captain’s seat that could be used to adapt a sailboat:

Hold Fast!

Like grab bars in a bathroom, sail boats have hand holds and rails all over the place to aid sailors in getting around the boat in rough seas or when the boat is healing over. Adding a handrail in strategic locations can  be very helpful in crossing the boat during a tack. Other tricks, like adding extra handles or wearing gloves with extra grip will aid people with poor grip strength in getting to the high side.

Stability Bar:

Common back saver shovel handle, designed to attach to shovels and other garden tools, can be added to a sailboat to create additional hand holds.

Adapted shovel handle or extension handle can be attached to rails, lifeline stanchions, or to the deck itself to provide extra purchase or something to hold onto with a closed fist. Sand Scoop Shovel Handle: or Just be sure to pick non-corrosive materials, and swap out any steel nuts and bolts for stainless steel.

Inexpensive polyester garden gloves dipped in rubber coating can provide a great deal of grip for sailors who need help holding on.

Not only can a good set of sailing gloves protect your hands from rope burn, but they can siginfcantly improve your grip. I’ve gone through a lot of gloves in my day. I’d say Zhik has the best full finger grip gloves out there. Extra grippy sailing gloves:

I also know people who pick up in expensive garden gloves that are dipped in a rubberized coating. They are thicker, very grippy, and a 3 pack can be purchased for under $10. Just make sure you get rid of them before they wear through.

Gifting Guide Day 21: Adapted Clothing

As a child, do you remember waking up on Christmas morning, running downstairs, and opening all your presents, hoping they were stuffed with new shirts, socks, and brand new undies! Yeah, me neither. But as an adult now, I appreciate some new socks that don’t have holes in them and a nice oxford shirt or work pants that are stylish and fit well. For people with disabilities, finding clothing that is easy to don if you have difficulty with your hands and is stylish AND looks properly fit, especially when using a wheelchair, can be difficult. There are a variety of specialty clothing companies that make clothing that is easy to put on, fasten, and some even are fit, especially for those who use wheelchairs.

Eric LeGrand, former Rutgers football player, with clothing designer Mindy Scheier.

For a short TED talk on how clothing empowers people with disabilities, visit:

Please note: We do not endorse any of these companies. There are many companies that provide accessible clothing. This is just a short list.

Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive:

Image of people with disabilities wearing fashion from Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger manufactures stylish clothing with easy closure options, fit for prosthetics, fit for a seated position, sensory-friendly fabrics, and suitable for people with various disabilities. On their website they state: “These are clothes that look good, feel good, and with the help of innovative design twists, deliver more effortless dressing for people with disabilities.”
Contact information is available on website at:


Silverts has an online clothing catalog that allows you to shop by need. They have clothing separated into categories for people such as those with amputations, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, ALS, and dementia. They have even listed clothing for people who are dressed by a care giver.
Phone: 1-800-387-7088

Zappos Adaptive:

Zappos Adapted website, with a woman in a manual wheel chair wearing easy to put on boots.

Many people are familiar with the large online shoe retailer Zappos. What most people don’t know is that Zappos Adaptive was created in 2017 based on customer feedback to sell shoes for people with special needs. They have a collection of specialised products, including easy on/off shoes, shoes that are AFO friendly, and diabetic shoes, as well as undergarments and seated clothing.
Call Zappos 1-800-927-7671
Text Zappos (833) 927-7898

Billy Footwear:

Screenshot of Billy Footwear website, showing their special flip top zipper shoes.

Billy Footwear focuses on universally designed shoes. One of the founders has a spinal cord injury, and decided to redesign shoes to meet his needs. Their footwear incorporates zippers that go along the side of the shoe all the way to the toe. This allows the top of the top of the shoe to open up completely.
Contact information can be found at:

Ministry of Supply:

Screenshot from website showing a professionally dressed woman wearing the pants while using a wheelchair.

Ministry of Supply is another mainstream online retailer that has a selection of professional adapted clothing for adults. They offer “Kinetic Adaptive Pants” for men and women that are designed and tested to fit properly and be comfortable for people who use wheelchairs. The fabric is designed to stretch as needed while maintaining a sharp and professional look. The company will also reimburse the cost of hemming pants with up to $25 of store credit.

Gifting Guide Day 20: Workshop DIY Gifts

Holiday Gifting Guide: DIY Assistive Technology Gifts

Nothing beats a holiday gift that someone has taken the time to make just for you! We have a whole lot of creative problem solvers and makers around our office and workshop, and many of us turn to the Instructables website for ideas on how to help people with disabilities.

Two rehabilitation engineers making a custom chair by grinding parts to shape in the rehabilitation engineering workshop.

Here is a sample of some projects that  you could make (or ask Santa to make) as assistive technology.

Motorized Light Bulb Changer:

DIY motorized light bulb changer from the Instructables website.

This project was developed by a gentleman who needed a way to change lightbulbs from a 2 story high chandelier, but someone in a wheelchair or of short stature could benefit from such a device. It contains a small motor, some other light electrical parts, some 3D printed parts, and a painter’s pole.

PVC Therapy Trike:

Volunteer build PVC tricycle being ridden by a child with special needs.

Instructions to build this child’s adapted tricycle were posted by volunteers for the Utah Assistive Technology Program. The adapted trike can be built for around $400 in materials, and is designed for children form ages 2 to 5 years, weighing under 50 pounds. Parts can be purchased from your local hardware store, or a kit can be purchased from .

Child’s Coloring Table:

DIY paper roll coloring table from the Instructables website.

I mentioned in a previous post how beneficial a table that holds rolled paper can be for children and adults with disabilities who which to draw, color, or paint. This project shows how one maker converted an old side table into an inexpensive coloring table.

WheeStroll- Wheelchair Stroller Attachment:

Man with DIY wheelchair mounted baby carrier, make from electrical conduit and an infant car seat.

This is a really neat project where a maker designed a system to attach an infant car seat to a wheelchair. The design combines off the shelf parts with some 3D printed brackets, and in beautiful in it’s simplicity.

Wheelchair Accessible Planter:

Home build wheelchair accessible garden planter

These plans show how to build a planter that was used at a community garden for wheelchair accessibility. I like that it is deeper than most other designs I have seen, but still provide for knee space due to the way the bottom slopes. It is a nice design.

Doorbell Room Light:

Woman who is deaf with a doorbell light flasher while her son is outside trying to get her attention.

This project was developed by a young man whose parents could not hear the door bell ring. The standard wireless door bell flasher was not working, so he decided to make something that would flash the room lights. This is a great project for someone who wants to learn more about electronics, programming, and soldering.

Guitar Tuner for People who are Blind:

Electronic guitar tuner that has been modified for people who are blind.

This is another great electronics project where a commercially available electronic guitar tuner has been modified with an Arduino microcontroller to change the visual output on the tuner to be played as tones through an earpiece.

Keep on Making!

Rehabilitation engineer Michael Papp displaying a custom made wood turning gouge with extra long handle.

I’ve always enjoyed making things in the workshop, and I have found common products can be easily tweaked to improve their form and fit for specific individuals. For example, I can make tool handles on chisels, screw drivers, and hammers thicker for some one with dexterity issues or arthritis. I can make wood turning gouges with longer handles for someone who might need to use a lathe while sitting in a wheelchair. Sometimes making your own assistive devices is the only way to meet a specific person’s need.

I could go on and on about all the cool projects on the Instructables website. It has something for every type of maker, whether you cook, sew, enjoy woodworking, gardening, electronics, programming, and especially for teachers.

Gifting Guide Day 19: Move it, move it…around the house.

Laundry, ugh….bad enough as it is it can be worse if you have a physical impairment that makes carrying laundry from one place to another a real booger. And what about if ANYthing is difficult to carry? What if you rely on a mobility device or perhaps, you’re unstable when you walk? How do you manage to get things from one place to the other? Let’s look at some devices that could help!

Rolling grocery cart

Grocery Cart

  • If someone finds it difficult to get their groceries from the car to the kitchen, a collapsible grocery cart is a great gift idea! When they are collapsible they can be transported in the vehicle until time to use.
  • They can also be used during shopping trips to the mall and often include a removable shopping bag to make it easier to load into the vehicle.
  • Some varieties even have stair climbing wheels that make it easier to go up curbs or stairs with the cart.
  • The pictured version also converts to a hand truck to make it easier to transport packages when the grocery bag isn’t useful.

Find many varieties at Amazon or your favorite super store.

Kitchen cart

Kitchen Cart

  • Often, when I’m working with someone who uses a mobility device to walk or is unstable while walking I’ll recommend a rolling kitchen cart to help that person move items from one location to another.
  • It’s a great tool for someone who needs to take dishes/meals from the kitchen counter to the table.
  • It can also be used around the house to move other hard to carry items.
  • Search for kitchen cart or beverage cart to find a variety that fits the user’s needs. Try to look for one with a sturdy frame, isn’t too large for the space or too large to manage, has decent size wheels so they don’t catch on carpet or rugs, and has an easy to hold handle for stability.

Find many varieties at Amazon or your favorite super store.

rolling laundry sorter

Rolling Laundry bins or sorter

  • My favorite assistive technology…almost. It’s something I use weekly… a rolling laundry bin. Why carry laundry baskets when you can roll them?
  • I love the laundry sorters on wheels so that the sorting work is already done for you.
  • The laundry sorter pictured has distinctive bins for dark, light, and color laundry so it makes it easier to sort and keep up with which bin is which.
  • I recommend searching for a rolling laundry bin or sorter and looking for one with a sturdy frame, easy to roll wheels, and a manageable size for the space and user.

Find many varieties at Amazon or your favorite super store.

utility cart

Utility Cart

  • A folding utility cart has been a back and energy saver for me both in my personal and work life.
  • They make it easier when you have a lot of things to load and unload from the vehicle.
  • They make it easier to transport numerous, heavy, or large items.
  • I’ve used it to help me and others move out of homes.
  • I gotta admit, my doggies also love riding in it when we go to food truck festivals at the park!
  • Look for a cloth sided one to reduce weight of the cart. My preference is also the carts with rubber wheels instead of the bulky plastic ones. Be sure to check out the specs to make sure you’re not getting one that’s too heavy for the user and get one that’s reviewed to be easy to fold up for storage.

Find many varieties at Amazon or your favorite super store.

Do you have a favorite cart that you’d like to share about? Comment below!

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This list is provided for informational purposes only as APTAT does not endorse specific products or brands. When purchasing be sure to thoroughly research the product features to ensure it will meet your individual needs.

Gifting Guide Day 18: Mobile Device Accessories

Many people with and without disabilities rely on their mobility devices nearly 24/7. For some it can be life line, for many with disabilities it’s an outlet to the world. That’s why it’s important to keep the device powered and within reach. Let’s look at a few ideas of how we can achieve that!

power bank with solar panel

Power Bank

  • A power bank is an external charging device that can charge or power a mobile device when a wall outlet isn’t available. This is a great gift for someone who needs access to their device for multiple hours a day and/or isn’t able to be near a wall outlet or physically can’t plug their phone in to charge.
  • These little devices can range in features from high to low charge capacity, charging time, solar power, or input and output ports.
  • PRO TIP: Be sure you find a power bank that works with your device type and that will recharge your device multiple times before it needs to be recharged.

Find several varieties at Amazon or Best Buy.

Before and after image of a cord protector. this cord protector is a pink owl

Extra Cords and Charging Blocks

  • Keep spare cords and charging blocks in your travel bag, on your mobility device, or in your car. You never know when you might need one or when yours will go out. Extra cords and charging blocks are a great gift for someone who uses their devices regularly. Just be sure to note what type of cord is compatible with their device! Also consider what length cord they may need
  • I don’t recommend picking up cords from the local dollar store or at the counter of a gas station. These might be suitable short term but they won’t last long…
  • PRO TIP: If you’re gifting cords to someone who is susceptible to damaging their cords look for cords with a protective cover or purchase a cord protector. An example is pictured. Not only can cord protectors help to make sure the joint of the cable doesn’t get bent and frayed, a protector like the one pictured can provide better grip to plugging in the charger.

Find several varieties at Amazon or Best Buy.

collage of the Mount It mount on a table and attached to a wheelchair

Phone Mount

  • Mounting the phone or tablet can make a world of difference in accessing one’s device. Especially with all the new features of mouse emulation, head tracking, switch access, etc it’s important to make sure the device is mounted so the user can adequately see the screen.
  • Mounting the device to a wheelchair can also help make sure the device doesn’t fall and get damaged while the user is moving about.
  • Pictured is a Mount-It tablet wheelchair mount that I’ve recommended before. It’s a decent less expensive option for mounting to a round pole or table. There are more substantial versions that have a higher price tag…I like those too. There are also cheaper versions of device mounts that you can even get from places like Five Below. Just know that you’re pretty much getting what you paid for! Make sure you test the mount in the environment to make sure it won’t fail and potentially ruin the user’s device.
  • I also want to note that their are floor stand versions of mounts, there are device holders that can strap to a person like what runners use, and there are even phone mounts that are commonly used by bicyclist. Pick a version that works best for the user and how they need to utilize their device.

Find several varieties at Amazon or Best Buy.

Adonit stylus targeting a cell phone

Adonit Dash Stylus

  • I’ve trialed a lot of styluses and by far the Adonit Dash Stylus has been one of my favorites. The Adonit line of styluses creates it’s own electrical charge so it doesn’t require that the stylus fits into the users hand a certain way to create current. Because of that it also has a fine tip point, whereas many styluses have to have the large rubber tip so that the device will recognize it.
  • The Dash stylus has a magnetic usb charger so it’s easy to pop on and off to charge and it doesn’t require bluetooth connection…making it even more user friendly.

Find out more about the Adonit styluses.

Do you have a favorite mobile device accessory that you’d like to share about? Comment below!

Did you enjoy this training module? Please complete our participant survey to help us with our federal reporting.

Follow us on social media to keep up with the latest on the Gifting Guide!

This list is provided for informational purposes only as APTAT does not endorse specific products or brands. When purchasing be sure to thoroughly research the product features to ensure it will meet your individual needs.

Gifting Guide Day 17: Interacting With Your Furbaby

Disability friendly products for you and your pet.

When pets are a part of the family we want to make sure that everyone can take part in loving the furry family member. Below are some cool products we found that can help!

Image of Furbo dog camera shooting a treat to a yorkie, Image reads "Alexa ask Furbo to toss a treat every hour"

Smart Treat Dispenser/Camera

  • If you have a lot of anxiety (like me) about leaving your pet family at home then a camera is a great tool to check in on them. But what if virtual interaction with a pet could ease an anxiety attack, debilitating anxiety about being away from one’s comfort zone, or other behavioral symptoms resulting from a disability?
  • Furbo has taken that a step further and not only included the opportunity to talk to your pet through the device but it can also send them treats!
  • Automated treat dispensing isn’t just useful for when you’re away but it also helps if you have difficulty manipulating or accessing treats in person. The treats can be dispensed via the app or Furbo can also connect with Alexa to allow you to dispense treats by voice.
  • There are a variety of cameras and dog treat dispensers on the market so be sure to find one that fits your needs!

Find out more and where to buy at Furbo.

A rabbit interacting with a treat puzzle

Interactive Reward Puzzles

  • One of the things I found most difficult about having puppies while also having a disability that causes chronic fatigue and pain is keeping them entertained when I had zero energy pr too much pain at the end of the day. Enter: reward puzzles.
  • Interactive toys and reward puzzles require your pet to seek and solve the various buttons, trap doors, or interactions to “release” the motivating food reward.
  • The toys/puzzles come in a variety of challenge levels so if your pet is figuring them out in 2.7 seconds like my papillon then it’s time to up the challenge level!

Find a variety of options at Amazon, Chewy, or your favorite pet store.

a cat sitting next to an automatic food dispenser

Food Dispenser

  • If you find it difficult to manage the large pet food bags or manipulating to scoop out portions daily, consider an automatic food dispenser.
  • There are a variety of options available that can either be set up on a schedule or controlled via an app. Be sure to research which features will best suit your needs!

Find a variety of options at Amazon, Chewy, or your favorite pet store.

a bone shaped toy with illustrations of how it's operated by phone

Robot Toys

  • If your pet loves to play fetch or chase things then look for toys that can be activated by motion, remote, or an app. These features make it more accessible for you to interact with your pet without physically interacting with the toy. Super fun and rewarding for you both!
  • TIP: If you struggle with low vision look for toys that make sound or light up so you can help your pet locate a lost toy.
  • TIP: If you have limited fine motor look for toys that have large activation buttons (or that perhaps…could be modified by your favorite rehab engineer for ability switches)

Find a variety of options at Amazon, Chewy, or your favorite pet store.

Gifting Guide Day 16: Adapted Art Supplies
Lucy the dachshund/shepherd mix dog finishing off her latest painting.

I don’t know about your house, but around here, everyone from Grandma to the dog likes to be creative, and so art supplies are a common gift during the holiday season. Here are some art ideas for children and adults with disabilities.

Do A Dot Art! Markers

Two Children Playing with Do A Dot Art Markers

These bright and extra thick washable markers are very easy to grip. The extra thick sponge tip never dries out and makes perfect dots every time. The ink dries quickly and are gluten and latex-free.

These markers are designed to help children learn to develop eye-hand coordination and color recognition.

The Pencil Grip Kwik Stix Paint Pens

Child drawing a snowman with Kwick Stix paint sticks

Kwick Stix are tempera paint sticks that take the mess out of painting while allowing children to explore their artistic side. The paint is semisolid and twists  out of the pen, similar to a glue stick. The paint is washable, non-toxic, and assorted sets are available online.

Kid Made Modern Gem Jackpot Crayon Set

Grinning child coloring with yellow gem shaped crayon.

These large, gem shaped crayons are are easy to grip, and can be used to draw lines or fill in large areas of color. They work no matter how they are being held, so there is no wrong way to use them.

Art Desks with integrated Paper Roll

Two children drawing on paper unrolled on child sized art table.

Aside from gripping your markers, crayons, or paints, holding the paper in place can also be challenging for children. Art paper can be taped down to aid in holding it in place. A desk with an integrated paper roll holder makes it much easier for kids to get creating. While any old desk can easily be modified with a paper roll holder and platen, there are a variety of desks for children and adults that integrate this feature. Large sheets of paper provide more space to get creative, and children who have better gross motor skills have plenty of space to work.

Paper Roll Holder:

Paper Roll Art Table:

Paper Roll Desk:

Loop Scissors

Person gripping a pair of yellow loop safety sissors.

Called squeezy scissors by some, these ergonomic scissors help those with poor fine motor function or problems such as arthritis by automatically opening back up after each cut. Available with safety tips for kids, there are also sharper versions for adults for sewing, crafting, and general household use. There are also sewing scissors and garden shears available with a self opening spring.

Squeezy scissors for children:

Loop scissors for adults:

No Spill Paint Cups

Green no spill paint cup with green paint brush and green cap

No spill paint cups have a cap that prevents spills and messes. The funnel-shaped cap aids in getting the brush into the paint, and work well with tempura and other non-toxic paints. An additional cap can fit over the funnel top so that the paint can be easily reused.

Gifting Guide Day 15: Charlie Mae’s First Day
Front cover of Charlie Mae's First Day by Hanna Wilson

An extraordinary picture book for preschoolers that encourages kindness and acceptance of children with different abilities! Like the endearing main character of this book, some children may appear to be much different and end up having more in common with their peers than anticipated. Inspired by real life Charlie Mae, this story was initially written to aid as an introduction to her kindergarten class. It’s transformation comes with a deep desire to serve as a tool to not only spread awareness at a pivotal age, but present a feeling of belongingness to kids and families like Charlie’s.

Charlie May’s first day is available at, along with the story of the real Charlie Mae, activity sheets for preschoolers, and and informational video explaining epilepsy to preschoolers. There is also additional information available on their Facebook page at:

Charlie Mae’s first day was written by Hannah Wilson, a resident of Chilton County. Wilson wrote the book from the perspective of her daughter. She had decided to write the book in the summer of 2000 as a resource that could be used by other special needs families. Wilson said, “My dream for it is for it to make its way to all the families like ours, I feel like it would just mean a lot to them.” Visit for more information on the inspiration behind the book.

Gifting Guide Day 14: Smart Microwaves

Yes, there actually are smart microwaves that can be operated hands free!

I had to see it to believe it myself, but there are now a number of microwaves that can be controlled via voice commands with Alexa or Google Home. No more searching and trying to find the correct buttons.

These microwaves require the user to place the food in the microwave, but then they can do the rest by stating something similar to, “Alexa heat for 20 seconds.” There are also a number of presets available to make the process go even smoother, but I know sometimes presets are more trouble than they are worth. One GE model allows the user to scan the barcode of a frozen meal, and the microwave knows what settings to use. An Amazon smart oven offers convection and air frying capabilities.

Of course, before purchasing any smart microwave, it would be beneficial to look into reviews and features. I am not able to recommend any specific one, but I am providing a couple of resources below that may help in your decision making.

Top 8 Smart Microwaves– Only the first four are voice controlled

The Best Microwaves for Blind Person and Visually Impaired – this article is almost two years old, so keep that in mind when considering their valuable information

Holiday Gifting Guide Day 13: Bidet Seat
Alpha JX Bidet Toilet Seat with remote control installed in a bathroom

A bidet is a specialized bathroom fixture for cleaning yourself after using a toilet. While popular throughout the world, bidet fixtures still see limited use in the United States. Bidets may be a separate bathroom fixture that looks like a small wash basin next to a commode or may be a bidet toilet seat or a handheld bidet wand.

Bidets greatly aid in cleaning your backside after elimination, especially for people who have difficulty using toilet paper. Handheld bidet wands are the least expensive option, and require the user to manually clean their posterior. Cost of a bidet wand ranges from $50 to $150.

Bidet toilet seats are more expensive, but can do the job automatically, and this is typically what our rehabilitation engineers recommend when doing bathroom modifications. Bidet toilet seats cost from $300 to $1000+ depending on options. Reasonably priced models around $400 have features such as heated water, heater seat, different washing functions, automatic washing, heated air drying, remote controls, and may even have a night light around the rim. More expensive models have motorized lids and advanced cleaning functions.

I like to have hands-on experience with any assistive technology that I recommend, and so I purchased an Alpha JX  Bidet Toilet Seat for a round bowl, cost around $340, a few years ago from . This device has all of the must have features at a reasonable price. Based on experience, I have the following suggestions and observations. The bidet seat is larger than a standard toilet seat, making the opening smaller. If at all possible, I would recommend only installing a bidet seat on an elongated the toilet. The seats for round bowl toilets are smaller than most people are used to, but this may be a benefit for smaller users.  The heated water is a must have, and the automatic cleaning feature is highly recommended. I would recommend a seat with a remote control for anyone with mobility problems, as the remote can be placed or secures somewhere easily accessible. People like the heated seat, especially when the weather is cold. A quick, pre wipe for people with soft stool is recommended for a more complete clean. Be sure to measure the space from the toilet seat bolt holes to the back of the tank before ordering; as I mentioned before the bidet seat is larger than a standard toilet seat and may not fit all toilets. It takes longer to use the bidet seat than toilet paper alone, as the dry function may take a minute or two to cycle through. So bring some good reading material! Over all, bidet seats, especially when combine with a sheet or two of toilet paper, will result in better clean. And they make a huge difference in independence for people who are unable to reach to clean themselves at all.

 For a more detailed description and tips on using a bidet seat, visit

Gifting Guide Day 12: Robotic Vacuums

As someone who spent a few summers as a professional cleaner, I now avoid it whenever possible. When the first Roomba robotic vacuum came out, I was skeptical but intrigued. I bought my first one in 2007. It was a Roomba 560, the third generation, and many of the kinks of earlier models had been fixed. I have been impressed, as that vacuum is still going strong. I’ve replaced the brushes, filters, and battery, but it still works as well as when I bought it. Over the years, I’ve added to my fleet of cleaning robots, including two Scoobas (robo mops) and a Samsung PowerBot9000. The Samsung is a better cleaner, but it has some problems charging, and getting reasonably priced parts is impossible.

Well Used Samsung Powerbot and iRobot Roomba vacuums

While robotic vacuums are not as effective at cleaning as a push or canister vacuum, they are easy to use if you don’t have the time or ability to vacuum, and the way I see it, if you run the robot three times a week, your house will be much cleaner than if you only pull out the push vac once a month. Some of the higher-end models can even empty themselves.

One major caveat; if you have pets, you better be sure there hasn’t been an accident before the robot runs. It will make a mess and may damage the robot.

Some robots move methodically across the floor, leaving those nice straight vacuum lines (like my PowerBot). Others move randomly (like my Roomba) and leave a random pattern the carpet. There is no visual difference if you use on hard floors, but if you like lines, look for one that vacuums in a grid pattern.

Some vacuums have smartphone apps. I’ve never had one like that, but if you want to set your vacuum off from work, that might be a feature worth the price. Another feature is a scheduler. Before I had pets, I had the robot automatically vacuum a few times a day while working. Now that I have pets, that is a big no-no. Some robots work better on hard floors vs. carpet. Both the Samsung and Roomba I have worked fine on either surface. Another nice feature is side brushes. Side brushes will allow the robot to clean along the edge of the room and closer around furniture. My Roomba has side brushed, and my Samsung does not. There is a definite difference in that the side brushes definitely clean more area. I also like it when the vacuum can find its way back to the dock to recharge. Some robots, like the Roomba, need extra sensors (called a lighthouse) to find their ways back when it does multiple rooms. Another cool but pricy feature is automatic dust bin emptying into a docking station.  I never minded emptying the dust bin, but if you find it difficult to do every time it runs, auto empty may be worth the price.

As I can’t possibly buy and review every piece of technology out there, I maintain a subscription to Consumer Reports to get an unbiased opinion on what the best products are each year.

Robotic vacuums vary in price from $200 to $1000. But the more expensive devices don’t always clean better. Some of the best ones, according to CR, include the Eufy RoboVac 11, the LG Hom-Bot CR5765, the Samsung Powerbot Limited Edition Darth Vader and Storm Trooper editions(Really? Where is Gonk?), and the Samsung Powerbot SR20H9051, the Ecovacs Deebot M88, and the tried and true iRobot Roomba S9+. The prices on these robots run from $250 to $900, depending on features.

I highly recommend finding a good robotic vacuum. Just be sure to pick one that has the features you need.

Gifting Guide Day 11: Suvie for Disability?

It exists! It really does exist!

An oven that keeps your food cold until it’s time to cook. I have to admit I was intrigued and a little skeptical when I saw the commercial. But the concept is fantastic. Not only is it great for busy individuals who would like dinner ready when they get home…it really got my wheels turning about how this could work for individuals with disabilities.

While the cooking robot has many cooking features and the ability to control via the app the most intriguing feature to me is the “Scheduled Cool-to-Cook: Cool-to-cook technology keeps your meal safely refrigerated until it’s time to start cooking. Enter your mealtime whenever you’re ready, and Suvie does the rest.” Imagine the possibility of someone being able to have a fresh cooked meal that may normally have to rely on a care giver or the microwave.

Ways it could benefit:

  • A caregiver could prep a meal in the morning that can be scheduled to cook for the evening.
  • The countertop device can be placed where it is easy to reach.
  • The pans are small and easy to carry or manipulate.
  • All the cooking is performed within the device so no need to tend to the items with stirring or flipping.
  • As long as the person can safely manipulate the pans after cooking this is a safer alternative to cooking on a stovetop or trying to remove hot items from a large oven.
  • The programmed cooking settings make it easy for someone with confusion or memory difficulty to cook a meal.
  • It can be controlled with a smartphone which improves accessibility for those with vision difficulties who can utilize a screen reader.
  • Suvie offers prepackaged meal options with clear cooking instructions.

Find out more about the Suvie at And Check out this preview of the Suvie on Youtube.

What do you think about the Suvie? Comment below!

Did you enjoy this training module? Please complete our participant survey to help us with our federal reporting.

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This list is provided for informational purposes only as APTAT does not endorse specific products or brands. When purchasing be sure to thoroughly research the product features to ensure it will meet your individual needs.

Gifting Guide Day 10: Staying Hydrated!

Don’t let a physical limitation keep you from access to H2O!

We all have that overflowing cabinet of water bottles and cups that we got from here, there, and everywhere…right? But are all those beverage vessels useful to a person with a disability? Probably not. Let’s look at some ideas of beverage holders that might help!

When purchasing any beverage device look for the following features to improve accessibility and safety:

  • The ability to attach to the individual’s mobility device easily.
  • An option to securely use and position a straw if the user can’t pick up the bottle.
  • The size: it may need to be large enough to hold enough water for several hours or it may need to be small enough to be easily carried.
  • Easy to clean and sanitize.
  • Easy to carry without spilling.

Bottle with long flexible hose or straw

  • A long flexible hose or straw makes it easy to position the straw close to the mouth so that the user can have direct access to their beverage at all times. This is important to consider when the device needs to be attached somewhere on the wheelchair where a user might not be able to reach it or may not have the ability to pick up their drink.
  • A Giraffe Bottle (pictured) for example, makes it easy to select a straw option that fits the user’s needs and the lid is already modified for the straw.
  • A rehab professional secret is to modify a standard drink cup with Modular Hose and food grade tubing (like a refrigerator water hose).

Camel Pack

  • A camel pack, originally intended for outdoor enthusiasts, is a great alternative when the user would like to have access to a larger quantity of beverage throughout the day. The bag can be hung from the back of a wheelchair or other mobility device and has a long tubular straw that is designed to come over the user’s shoulder. It could easily be adapted with modular hose to help position the straw near the mouth.
  • Pictured is the CamelBak Hydrobak available on Amazon.

Cup Holder

  • If your beverage vessel doesn’t come with a cup holder be sure to consider whether one is needed. There are a variety of options on the market and you’ll need to make sure it can attach properly to someone’s mobility device, bed, or workstation. You’ll also want to look for one that has flexibility in the size of bottle or cup it can accommodate.
  • Picture is a Mobility Cup Holder designed with a strap to attach to mobility devices.

Beverage Transport Helper

  • Maybe someone just needs help getting a beverage from point A to point B without spilling it. There are a few options on the market for devices that can help someone carry their beverage with “zero gravity” technology. One example is the SpillNot Drink Carrier (pictured).

Do you have a favorite beverage product that you’d like to share about? Comment below!

Did you enjoy this training module? Please complete our participant survey to help us with our federal reporting.

Follow us on social media to keep up with the latest on the Gifting Guide!

This list is provided for informational purposes only as APTAT does not endorse specific products or brands. When purchasing be sure to thoroughly research the product features to ensure it will meet your individual needs.

Gifting Guide Day 9: Gadgets for Gardeners

Do ya dig these tools for gardening?

Gardening can be a relaxing and rewarding experience for everyone. However, there are some gardening activities that can be a hassle for people with various limitations. Below are some ideas of products that can help your outdoor hobbyist.

Gardening tools with upright handles

Ergonomic Tools

  • Unique Upright Handle: Unique upright handle with non-slip grip provides the natural way to hold a tool that keeps the hand and wrist in a natural and comfortable position,improve leverage, making it easier and less painful to use garden tools.These tools help take the strain and discomfort out of gardening from using traditional hand tools.
  • Scope of Application: Perfect for anyone who loves gardening but has trouble with traditional, straight-handled gardening tools due to long-term finger/hand joint damage from rheumatoid arthritis or related conditions.

Find out more at Amazon.

Lady sitting on a stool leaning over potted plant

Portable Seat/Stool

  • 60% of people over the age of 55 experiences osteoarthritis, knee and hip pain. It can be frustrating to live with the chronic pain of these ailments. However, you don’t have to give up your green thumb due to these issues. With Multi-functional Kneeler & Seat, you can keep doing what you love with minimal pain or no pain at all. These items can also help aging seniors assess household tasks that may require getting down low to reach areas.

Find out more and where to buy at Home And Garden Trends.

Farmer sitting on knee scooter leaning over potted plants

Knee Scooter

  • Eliminates strain caused by kneeling, squatting, and stooping
  • Simplifies even the most tedious tasks
  • Smoothly operates on nearly any surface

Find out more and where to buy at Gardeners Edge.

Long Handled Weed Puller

  • Get rid of weeds without risking your back with this long handled weeding tool. The 39” tall handle lets you remove the weeds without having to bend over or go down to your knees. The foot pedal lets you put enough force on the weed remover to penetrate the ground and grab the whole weed, including the roots, so it doesn’t grow back.

Find out more at Amazon.

Storage Caddy

  • Tired of struggling and juggling your shovel, rake, hand tools and supplies out to the garden? Or making multiple trips back and forth? This easy-roll caddy keeps tools organized in the shed. Then, when it’s time to head out to the garden, just roll the caddy where you need it and you’re ready to go. Includes 5-gallon bucket with fabric pocket organizer for small tools, a small bucket for carrying other supplies, vegetables, mulch and more. The top ring corrals long-handled tools.

Find out more and where to buy at Gardener’s Supply Company.

Raised Beds

  • Waist-high box eases knee and back strain
  • The height of the planter box has other advantages too: fewer weeds, reduced maintenance, and nowhere near as many critters nibbling at your prize plants. 

Find out more and where to buy at Gardener’s Supply Company.

Robot Lawn Mower

  • The WORX Landroid S is here to give larger lawn owners their weekends back. It comes with a robust 6.0Ah high-capacity Power Share battery and a wider 8-in. cutting width to mow up to a 1/8 acre. You’ll never have to cut your lawn again once you set up your Landroid. Just place the charging base, lay the boundary wire around the perimeter of your lawn and secure it with pegs, and finish setup on the handy Landroid App. You can even control Landroid and schedule mowing times from the App, without ever getting off your couch. It’s packed with cutting-edge tech to ensure it does a good job and leaves you with a lawn you can be proud of. 

Find out more and where to buy at Home Depot.

Robot Weeder

  • This one is new to me! How about a robot weed puller? How awesome to get a little help maintaining the tedious task of weeding.

Find out more and where to buy at Amazon.

Do you have a favorite gardening product that you’d like to share about? Comment below!

Did you enjoy this training module? Please complete our participant survey to help us with our federal reporting.

Follow us on social media to keep up with the latest on the Gifting Guide!

This list is provided for informational purposes only as APTAT does not endorse specific products or brands. When purchasing be sure to thoroughly research the product features to ensure it will meet your individual needs.

Gifting Guide Day 8: Medication Helpers

Don’t lose track of your daily dose!

For many it can be difficult to keep track of medications. Divvying up daily dosages can be tedious. Opening pill bottles can be frustrating. Remembering if you’ve taken a dose can be confusing. Making sure a loved one is taken care of remotely can be worrisome. For all these issues…there is technology that can help!

Don’t hesitate to also look into prescription services if the technology isn’t meeting the health and safety standards you need to meet! Also check out these articles by HealthLine and Tech Enhanced Life that review several pill dispensing devices.

When purchasing any medication device look for the following features to improve accessibility and safety, remembering that the necessary technology is dependent upon the individual:

  • Audible or visual alerts to remind the user to take their medication.
  • Locks for individuals with memory issues who may try to access additional doses.
  • More robust technology that can offer remote connectivity to provide alerts to a caregiver if the medication hasn’t been accessed.
  • Easy to access containers for those with fine motor issues.
  • Travel friendly packaging for those who need to carry medication with them.
e-pill dispenser with compatible app

Automatic Pill Dispenser

  • There are a variety of automatic pill dispensers with differing features to suit your needs. They can have remote access, various alarms, prescription services, etc.
  • An example of a mid tech version which locks the dispenser until it’s time to take the medication. The device provides an audible and visual alarm at the time set up within the app.
  • A “simpler mid tech” version would be the Smart SF Pill Dispenser which eliminates the need to divvy out the dosages and instead tells you how many pills to take from the designated slot at specified times. Extremely helpful for those who don’t want to open several bottles every time it’s time to take their medication.
Collage of medication tools like a bottle opener, blister pack popper, and travel water bottle with pill dispenser

Medicine Aids under $20

  • If you’re looking for simple tools to help someone be a little more independent with their medication check out items like a pill bottle opener which makes it easier to grip lids, a travel bottle with pill dispenser which improves the convenience of taking medication on the go, or a pill popper to get medication out of those pesky blister packs!

Illustration of a hand holding a smartphone with medication reminder on the screen

Medicine Reminder Apps

  • Don’t forget your smart phone can be a handy dandy reminder tool! Set alarms or check the app store to find medication reminder apps. Be sure to read reviews to make sure the app will meet your needs.

Do you have a favorite medication technology that you’d like to share about? Comment below!

Did you enjoy this training module? Please complete our participant survey to help us with our federal reporting.

Follow us on social media to keep up with the latest on the Gifting Guide!

This list is provided for informational purposes only as APTAT does not endorse specific products or brands. When purchasing be sure to thoroughly research the product features to ensure it will meet your individual needs.

Gifting Guide Day 7: Power the lights on and off without making a move

With today’s technology, someone can be sitting and never have to lift a finger to turn the lights on (or off).

Imagine getting into bed and realizing the kitchen lights are still on. For many, this is frustrating to walk back to the kitchen. For others, they have to get back into their wheelchair to return to the kitchen to flip the switch.

There are a number of safety features that may be automated, such as if a camera or motion sensor senses movement after a certain time, lights come on. When not home, lights can be set to to randomly go on and off. The lights can also be set to automatically come on at sunset or at a certain preferred time.

Philips Home Bridge with four bulbs in starter kit

This Hue Starter Pack includes the Hue bridge and bulbs to get started.

  • The Hue bridge plugs directly into router and utilizes the built in Zigbee network.
  • The Hue bridge allows up to 50 bulbs to be controlled via voice or smart device. Timers, routines, and more are able to be set on each of these bulbs.
  •  With an Amazon Alexa or Google Home device, you can use simple voice commands such as, ‘Alexa, dim the lights’, or,’ ‘Hey Google, turn on the table lamp’, to control your lights. Compatible devices include: Amazon Echo Dot 3rd Generation or newer, Amazon Echo Plus, Amazon Echo Show 5 or newer, Google Home Mini and Google Home Hub.
  • Up to 10 Hue bulbs may be controlled using Bluetooth without using the bridge, but there are a number of limitations. More info on this can be found here at Hue’s website. I highly recommend using the Hue Bridge.
  • The bulbs are guaranteed to last 3 years, so there is much less replacement of bulbs!
  • The bulbs and bridge are compatible with the Hue app that may be installed on any iOS or Android device. This app allows users to customize lighting for their needs and to control from outside of the home if needed.
  • There are a vast number of types of Hue bulbs available to fit the needs of your household.
  • How to set up the system

Wyze bulbs are a budget friendly option

Sengled bulbs have more compatibility and still a budget option

  • Sengled bulbs work with Apple HomeKit, Alexa, and Google Home.
  • These bulbs have an energy consumption tracking feature built into their app
  • These are another budget friendly option, at around $12 per bulb.
  • No hub or bridge is required, and setup is very quick. They connect directly to your home network.
  • These bulbs are missing most of the advanced features, but through the Alexa or Google Home, some may be able to be utilized.
  • These bulbs are more readily available than the Wyze bulbs.
  • These bulbs require the use of the Sengled Home app.
  • How to setup the system

Pro tip: Pick one and stick with it. It’s easier to have one system than bouncing back and forth.

Comment below if you have some other smart bulbs you have found to work great in your home OR if you have any great tips on how to better use them with voice activation.


This list is provided for informational purposes only as APTAT does not endorse specific products or brands. When purchasing be sure to thoroughly research the product features to ensure it will meet your individual needs.

Gifting Guide Day 6: Tools to Make Notetaking Easier

Anyone would benefit from these notetaking tools, especially students!

These notetaking tools do more than just pen and paper or an audio recorder. They connect written notes with audio recording in a whole new way. There are other tools besides the ones I have included that are great to help with notetaking, and your choice will likely vary based on which device you use.

Livescribe Symphony

The Livescribe Symphony smart pen utilizes the Livescribe+ app on your smartphone, computer, or tablet to record the audio from what the teacher is saying while also saving your handwritten notes. The student can tap the written notes on the device to play back what was being said later when studying. This device retails around $100.

Notability app on iPad

The Notability app is available on the iPad for notetaking. This app allows users to record audio while simultaneously typing, writing, including images, and more. When later reviewing notes, they are able to tap any part of their notes to play back the audio. This app can be downloaded on the iPad for around $10.

Glean Note Taking

Glean software records audio notes so users can capture and learn from information more effectively. One aspect that is great about this software is that it will work on a number of devices, from Chromebooks to iPads to Android devices. Download a free thirty day trial here to help you decide if this is a good fit. This software is purchased as a subscription for around $12 per month.

Comment below if you have any other notetakers that are helpful in the classroom! I am always looking for new ideas to help students.

Gifting Guide Day 5: Make Your Entry Smart

Keeping Your Entry Secure But Accessible

One of the major issues I’ve encountered in the past when working with individuals who have difficulty answering their door is…how do we make it possible for frequent guests and caregivers to enter and exit the home but also keep the home secure? This isn’t an occasional problem for people with disabilities that require multiple caregivers or service providers to visit their home. Smart home technology has made it easier to keep an entry secure but also accessible to the homeowner, guests, or service providers. It prevents potential injury from trying to answer the door if the individual is unstable with mobility and also eliminates the need to give multiple people keys to their door.

When purchasing any smart entry device look for the following features to improve accessibility and safety:

  • Remote control of the door lock and alternative means of activation such as smart device control or voice control.
  • The ability to unlock the door manually in case the guest or caregiver does not use a smartphone or the wifi is down.
  • Look for devices that use Zigbee connectivity to avoid wifi connectivity issues.
  • The ability to view the doorbell camera quickly and easily on preferred device. Look for options that don’t require multi step activation of the video feed.

Smart Lock

  • For consumers with a mobility difficulty that makes it troublesome to answer a door I love recommending a smart lock that they can activate either by a remote, smart device, or voice.
  • Look for a smart lock that allows you to set up codes and visitor accounts through the app for guests or caregivers that visit frequently. This increases security because the app will notify you when the specific person opens your door. It’s also easy to delete the access when that person should no longer have entry to your home.
  • I suggest a door lock that also includes a keypad so if a guest does not own a smart phone they can enter their code to unlock the door.
  • If the door lock includes Zigbee connectivity like the Schlage Connect Smart Deadbolt, it will eliminate potential issues with wifi connectivity.
  • PRO TIP: For individuals with difficulty opening a door, contact a DME to discuss the possibility of installing an automatic door opener. Making entry and exit through the door completely hands free!
video doorbell

Video Doorbell

  • Anytime you install a smart lock that will be activated remotely I highly recommending also installing a video doorbell so the user can see who is at the door before they unlock it.
  • Be sure to look for a doorbell camera that can stream the video feed to your preferred device platform. An example would be the Ring Video Doorbell which can work with multiple smart device operating systems as well as Alexa.

Video Feed Device

  • Investigate which device would be easiest to access with the individual’s preferred method. It doesn’t provide any benefit if the video is streamed to a device the user can’t activate!
  • One of the easiest methods I’ve found for a user to view a video feed is through the Amazon Alexa Show which can be activated directly and also by voice.

Do you have a favorite smart entry product that you’d like to share about? Comment below!

Did you enjoy this training module? Please complete our participant survey to help us with our federal reporting.

Follow us on social media to keep up with the latest on the Gifting Guide!

This list is provided for informational purposes only as APTAT does not endorse specific products or brands. When purchasing be sure to thoroughly research the product features to ensure it will meet your individual needs.

Gifting Guide Day 4: Banking on Gift Cards

Having a disability can be expensive!

There are products and services that people with disabilities either spend a lot of money on throughout the year OR wish they could. Gift cards can be a welcome gift to help all year!

unrecognizable black doctor on bust stop in city


  • There are a variety of reasons someone may not be able to drive their own vehicle. Transportation services can eat up a good chunk of someone’s budget. A person or family might be grateful to have a transportation card, rideshare gift card/credit, or extra money to rent an accessible vehicle.
  • If you’re not able to spend a lot yourself, maybe consider offering them a ride when possible.

woman carrying paper bag

Grocery or Food Delivery

  • Chronic pain or fatigue, lack of transportation, vision difficulties, mobility impairments, anxiety, memory difficulty, schedules full of medical appointments, and many other limitations can make it difficult to manage grocery shopping or going out to dinner. Grocery and food delivery is a service that boomed in 2020 but delivery fees can really add up. Having a gift card to take advantage of the convenience of food and grocery delivery would be a luxury to some!

person holding kindle e book reader

E-Books or Audiobooks

  • Reading is a hobby for many but some limitations can make it difficult to manipulate or read a hard copy book. And buying numerous books a year can also be costly. E-books or audiobooks can accommodate many disabilities and having the extra money to spend on one’s hobby is rather satisfying!

couple love sitting evening

Streaming Services

  • Being able to watch new movies or your favorite TV shows in the comfort of your own home can be a fantastic accommodation! But streaming service fees can add up. It could reduce someone’s stress to know they have an annual subscription to their favorite streaming service!

girl sitting on smiling man s shoulder


  • The cost of medical supplies, copays, caregivers, etc can leave many families without the extra money to enjoy extracurricular activities. Find out if they might be interested in an activity like going to the zoo, the movies, a cooking class, a theme park, or another local favorite and offer to purchase tickets or a gift card to their preferred attraction.
  • Don’t forget they may need special transportation arrangements!

girl sitting on smiling man s shoulder


  • Paying for special services might be a luxury to some and a necessity for others. If they utilize or would like to utilize lawn care, maid, respite, caregiver, culinary, or other home maintenance services (like weatherproofing a ramp!) having a gift card or the extra money to pay for one of these services might be a great benefit.

Do you have a favorite place to spend giftcards that you’d like to share? Comment below!

Did you enjoy this training module? Please complete our participant survey to help us with our federal reporting.

Follow us on social media to keep up with the latest on the Gifting Guide!

This list is provided for informational purposes only as APTAT does not endorse specific products or brands. When purchasing be sure to thoroughly research the product features to ensure it will meet your individual needs.

Gifting Guide Day 3: Tools To Make DIY Easier

Your favorite DIYer needs these tools!

DIY can be fun but super tedious if you’re battling certain limitations. The “tools” for a successful project are endless so here are just a few options that come to mind.

Drill Guide

  • A drill guide can help if it’s difficult to keep the drill upright or in place.

Adaptive Scissors

  • Easy grip scissors can be safer and easier to manipulate with hand weakness.
  • PRO TIP: Be sure you’re using the right scissors for the job!

Electric Screwdriver

  • One of my favorite tools!
  • An electric screwdriver is perfect for those tasks where a drill has a bit too much power but a using a manual screwdriver might be tedious, fatiguing, or painful.
  • PRO TIP: Don’t forget the bits!

Measuring Devices

  • An easy see tape measure, talking tape measure, or laser measure can help where taking measurements might be physically, cognitively, or visually difficult to achieve.
  • PRO TIP: Pick a laser measure that connects to an app to log the measurements or aid in drawing room layouts!

Magnifying Light

  • Lighting is an important part of any workshop. If it’s difficult to see your project it can be unsafe and discouraging. Select a magnifying lamp for tasks that require fine motor or delicate attention.
  • An articulating arm on a clamp can make it easy to position the lamp anywhere in your workshop.

Do you have a favorite workshop product that you’d like to share about? Comment below!

Did you enjoy this training module? Please complete our participant survey to help us with our federal reporting.

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This list is provided for informational purposes only as APTAT does not endorse specific products or brands. When purchasing be sure to thoroughly research the product features to ensure it will meet your individual needs.

Gifting Guide Day 2: Adapted Games

Game Night for Everyone!

Game night isn’t inherently accessible to everyone….but it could be! With just a little extra consideration we could make game night more inclusive. Below are just a FEW examples of ways to improve accessibility.

What to look for:

  • Products that make it easier to manipulate game pieces.
  • Games with large print or digital platforms where print can be adjusted.
  • Games that don’t require a lot of manipulation of small pieces or have alternative input/targeting options.

Card Holders

  • For individuals with difficulty holding cards there are a variety of products on the market to assist. Just search for “card holder”.
  • Alternatively, search for a digital version of the card game!

Monopoly two ways…or more

  • You’ve seen the local town Monopoly game boards…did you know there were versions that could benefit people with certain limitations?
  • The Super Electronic Version of Monopoly eliminates the need to count and manipulate money. It’s simple to tap the credit card on the banking device and it tabulates everything for you.
  • The Braille/Low Vision version of Monopoly provides large text and braille cards as well as a tactile game board surface.

Alternative Dice Rolling

Digital Games for Groups

  • One of my most favorite games I’ve played recently is OutSmarted, a trivia game for groups. Though the game comes with a physical gameboard the game can be operated almost entirely from a smart device and mirrored on the TV for everyone to see. Having both of these options makes it easier for the player to roll the dice and read the trivia questions.
  • Another option would be to look for multi player games that can be played entirely on a digital device. An example would be Jackbox Games which can be played on multiple platforms and has a variety of game packages to suit your groups interests.

Do you have a favorite accessible game product that you’d like to share about? Comment below!

Did you enjoy this training module? Please complete our participant survey to help us with our federal reporting.

Follow us on social media to keep up with the latest on the Gifting Guide!

This list is provided for informational purposes only as APTAT does not endorse specific products or brands. When purchasing be sure to thoroughly research the product features to ensure it will meet your individual needs.

Gifting Guide Day 1: Smart Devices for Temperature Control

Stay the perfect temperature with these cool devices!

Temperature devices are great for someone with difficulty regulating their body temperature. But why would we want them to be smart controlled? Because they can be controlled by a smart device or voice to turn on/off or adjust temperature! Multiple control options are ideal features for someone with mobility issues, chronic pain or fatigue, vision impairment, and many other limitations.

When purchasing any temperature control device look for the following features to improve accessibility and safety:

  • Ability to control through wifi connected app. This allows a user to navigate through a smart device with their preferred access. It also allows for a caregiver to remotely control the device as needed.
  • Ability to control with your favorite smart home speaker which allows the user to control the device hands free by voice!
  • Safety features like timers, shut off, or app alerts.
Image of a folded blanket with controller and smart phone displaying the Sunbeam app

Sunbeam® LoftTec™ Wi-Fi Connected Heated Blanket.

  • Control the Heated Blanket from anywhere using the Sunbeam app, voice assistants, or wired digital controller. Great for when a caregiver needs to adjust the settings remotely!
  • Pair with the Wi-Fi-enabled Sunbeam app to power on, select heat settings, and preheat your bedding from anywhere.
  • Use with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant voice-enabled devices for easy use, even in the dark. Hands free control is great for accessibility!

Find out more and where to buy at Sunbeam.

Vornado OSCR37 AE 37″ Oscillating Tower Circulator with Alexa

  • Alexa-enabled circulator which allows hands free control
  • Oscillation on-demand prevents direct air flow to someone who may be sensitive.
  • 4 speed touch controls to suit many needs.
  • Quiet operation so those with sound sensitivity can still enjoy the device.

Find out more and where to buy at Vornado.

Atomi Smart Space Tower Heater

  • ETL Certified and with various built-in safety features, such as a tip-over safety switch, overheat protection, and cool-touch housing.
  • With built-in WiFi connectivity, you can control this space heater through an app, which also displays the unit’s status and room temperature so you can increase or decrease the heat as needed. Perfect controls for a caregiver that needs to check in remotely.
  • Use simple voice commands to turn your Smart Tower Heater on or off using Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Find out more and where to buy at Atomi.

Ecobee 3 Lite Smart Thermostat

  • Control straight from the app or your smart home assistant. Hands free control!
  • Can be controlled remotely by a caregiver.
  • Can be programmed with a schedule to suit individual needs.
  • Smart room sensors available to make sure the temperature in your room is just right!

Find out more and where to buy at Ecobee.

Do you have a favorite temperature control product that you’d like to share about? Comment below!

Did you enjoy this training module? Please complete our participant survey to help us with our federal reporting.

Follow us on social media to keep up with the latest on the Gifting Guide!

This list is provided for informational purposes only as APTAT does not endorse specific products or brands. When purchasing be sure to thoroughly research the product features to ensure it will meet your individual needs.

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