Parents with disabilities swear by these 10 helpful products
These useful devices can make raising children more manageable
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Parenting requires a certain degree of ingenuity—parenting when you are disabled, even more so. When I became disabled in my mid-30s with a condition that affected my ability to stand unassisted, I found I needed to make some adjustments to how I approached everything, including how I parented my two young children.
I have found some devices and tools that help me parent as a disabled person. I spoke with other disabled parents, including disability advocate Kat Inokai to discuss the products that make our lives easier.
There are many types of disabilities—too many to cover in one general list—but with the help of these 10 items, many disabled parents find caring for their children and themselves more manageable.
1. Google Nest Mini
This little speaker saves my spine daily. We know how hard it can be to get children to come when they are called. Before we got the Google Nest Mini, when I was downstairs and needed to speak with my children who were upstairs, my options were to yell loudly or take a painful and strenuous walk up the stairs.
With Google Nest Mini, I simply type what I want to say into my phone, and it broadcasts to the speaker in their room. Calling them for dinner has never been so easy.
With children around the house, there is always something on the ground or up high (out of reach of little hands) that parents need to access—but bending down and reaching up are two things many parents with disabilities find difficult.
Grabbers allow disabled parents to pick things up without straining their backs. They also allow people who use wheelchairs to reach items that cannot be accessed from seated-height.
Grabbers made specifically for this purpose are fantastic, but in a pinch (no pun intended), kitchen or barbecue tongs will do!
3. A great baby carrier
Being a disabled parent sometimes means needing to have hands free for using mobility devices. Some disabilities also make it difficult to hold or carry something heavy for long periods—including babies and toddlers.
Using a baby carrier gives support for parents who need it, and allows a disabled parent to carry their child while keeping their hands free. They can also help with nursing.
4. A slow cooker
This may not be an item you think of when you hear accessibility tools, but it can be quite helpful for people with many types of disabilities.
A slow cooker can be used safely by disabled parents who have difficulties with controlled movement or cognitive difficulties that make cooking at the stove a risk for fire or injury.
They also allow someone who cannot stand for long periods or who cannot easily access the stove or oven to make meals for their families.
5. Lots of kitchen gadgets
Jarred baby food is a quick and nutritious option for feeding your baby—if you can get the jar open. For some disabled parents, opening a jar is difficult, painful, or impossible. Electronic jar openers, such as the Robo Twist, help disabled parents open jars of all sizes.
Food processors make cutting, shredding, and pureeing food for the family less physically straining and safer for many disabled parents.
For a quick and inexpensive food chopping option, try the Slap Chop.
6. The EMBR Wave Bracelet
Sleep is at a premium for parents, disabled and abled alike. Some disabled parents have difficulty controlling their personal body temperatures, which can cause discomfort and make it hard to fall asleep.
The EMBR Wave bracelet sends out cool or warm sensations as needed, helping with symptom control, comfort, and the ever-important ability to fall asleep.
7. Rolling chairs
You might not think of putting an office chair in the kitchen, but for some disabled parents (like me!) it makes cooking much easier and more comfortable.
Using a rolling chair, I can move quickly back and forth between the table, the cupboards, the fridge, the sink, the stove, and anywhere else I need to go.
While I have a walker that helps me get around outside of the house, it is bulky indoors, and requires the use of my hands. The rolling chair helps me move around both pain-free and hands-free.
If it’s height that is needed, a tall chair or stool makes cooking at the stove, or doing dishes more accessible.
When I asked parents with disabilities what helps them, the most popular answer was apps. Apps that help scheduling, apps that set reminders, apps that track heart rate, the list is endless.
Accessibility through the use of devices and technology is common and incredibly useful. In addition to apps, check the accessibility tools available on your devices.
Many apps are available, including the Cozi Family Organizer which is free with in-app purchases on Google Play and App Store.
9. Step stools
In addition to being useful to access out-of-reach items, step stools provide lightweight, portable seating for parents who have mobility disabilities. I found it especially helpful to use while sitting with my kids during bath time when they were little.
10. A travel mug
Like many parents, I need coffee to get through the day, but whether a caffeinated beverage or not, a travel mug reduces or eliminates spillage when carrying a drink while using a mobility device. It is also helpful for parents who do not have steady hands. I adore my Ello Jane ceramic mug.
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