Ask a Peer: Gadgets Galore!

What is the most useful piece of equipment/gadget outside of a mobility aid?  

I find it amazing how resourceful people with disabilities can be. I continue to learn from my comrades even after 25 years of living with a disability. As one respondent so eloquently put it:

That’s easy, your wit. The less you have use of your body, the more you need your mind to find solutions, which includes common sense, intelligence and drive. You need all three.

The truth is, sometimes we have to be MacGyver and create solutions that work for us. Gadgets are a big part of that. Our peers’ top gadget recommendations are  a reaching stick or grabber, an iPad specifically with “dictation functionality,” and remote controls or environmental control units (ECU) for TV, lights and blinds. Beyond that, the recommendations were very creative, ranging from a button puller to an electric wine opener to a bungee cord. Read on – we hope you find something that makes your day a bit easier!  Any questions regarding anything below can be emailed to

“I would have to say the most useful item for me would be my typing sticks.”

“While not essential by any means, is very useful; another wheeler gave me this long-handled dustpan.  When you put it on the floor, it opens up to allow you to sweep stuff into it.   When you pick it up, it swings closed, to keep whatever is in it from spilling out.  It’s pretty neat!”

“Microwaveable corn bag for warmth! Next a laptop, electric toothbrush, raised front load washers & dryers, a side opening wall oven, kitchen shelves that slide in and out, low closet bars and pull down bars to hang clothing and pull out shelves for shoes (California Closets).  Living alone, I could go on and on.” 

“My one-handed egg cracker.  My electric wine bottle opener. (I realize that is two… depends on my mood and the time of day!)”

“Google Maps by far.  Not only can I see a satellite view of where I’m going, but I can usually get a street view.  That tells me if the place is accessible or not so I can plan ahead.”

“Button puller for buttoning dress shirts, used 5x a week for 2 years now.”

“No question:  My lapboard!  Abs (able bodied) at buffets are particularly jealous.”

“A flat microwave lid that I flip upside down and use as a tray…with limited arm and hand function, it allows me to take things in and out of the microwave without getting burnt or dropping.”

“Bungee cord to pick things up off the floor.  Light and compact!”

If you have any questions you would like to ask our peer mentors, please email

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