Five Unexpected Places to Find Disability-Related Products Online
Sure, you know all the specialty websites for occupational therapy gadgets. You've pored over resource lists to find companies catering directly to your family's needs. You've bookmarked your favorites, and you're happy to give business to small companies who get it. But every now and then ... man, wouldn't it be nice to get some of this stuff with the quick free shipping you get from the big e-commerce websites? Or pick something up at a store near you? Check out what these sites you're probably shopping at right now offer for special-needs shopping.
Go to: Zappos AdaptiveWhat it offers: Clothes and shoes like the rest of the site, but the kind you've been looking everywhere for.
From the site: "Zappos Adaptive started with a single phone call from a grandmother whose grandson could not tie his own laces. She needed laceless shoes, and at the time we could not help her find the right shoes that would fit his size. This call sparked our desire to better serve our customers by offering shoes and clothing that are BOTH functional and fashionable to fill a variety of needs. Since that call, we have spoken to many customers directly about their needs; some of whom have disabilities themselves and others are caregivers to family members who have disabilities. This led us on a journey to find clothing and footwear for men, women, and kids that have special or unique features and bring them together in one online shopping experience."
Questions?: On the Zappos Adaptive homepage, you can leave a phone number and a "in-house adaptive specialist" will call you back.
2. Toys R Us
Go to: Toy Guide for Differently-Abled KidsWhat it offers: That same toy guide broken down by different needs that you mostly hear about at Christmas, but guess what? It's there for your reference all year through.
From the Site: "For more than 20 years, Toys 'R' Us, Inc. has offered the Toys 'R' Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, a one-of-a-kind resource that offers toy recommendations based on research from the National Lekotek Center, a nonprofit organization that evaluates all toys in the Guide. For years, the Guide has provided parents and caregivers with toys that aid in the development of children who have physical, cognitive or development disabilities. ... Because all kids are unique, regardless of ability, toys are not categorized by disability nor by age. Instead, symbols are assigned to each toy based on different skills. In this way, the Guide helps parents choose toys that build or reinforce a variety of skill sets."
Questions?: Check out the site of the National Lekotek Center for more on how they evaluate toys.
Go to:Accessible HomeWhat it offers: Things to make your home more accessible for your child with a physical disability.
From the site: "Your home has countless opportunities to increase the accessibility and safety for your friends and family—let the experts at Lowe's show you how. Perhaps it's installing a new shower, shower chair, raised toilet seat, tub transfer bench, walk-in bath or walk-in tub in the bathrooms. Increase the mobility ... by adding handicap ramps, a wheelchair lift, wheelchair ramps or portable wheelchair ramps. ... Maybe you'll choose wide entry doors or ramps for easier home access, as well as security lighting for your home's exterior. No matter how you want to improve your home's accessibility, the helpful experts at Lowe's have the resources to make it happen."
Questions?: Many items on the website are available at a Lowe's near you right now, giving you the opportunity to talk to a live human for information and advice.
Go to: AccessibilityWhat it offers: Information on accessibility features and accessories like switches and keyboard covers for Mac, iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, and Apple TV.
From the site: "The most powerful technology in the world is technology that everyone, including people with disabilities, can use. To work, create, communicate, stay in shape, and be entertained. So we don’t design products for some people or even most people. We design them for every single person."
Questions?: E-mail [email protected]
Go to: the search box and search for the item, catalog name, or manufacturer you're looking for. Click on one item, and you can often click on the name of the catalog or manufacturer to find more items from that provider, such as Abilitations above.
What it offers: All those special-needs-specific catalogs and sites you've found around the Web may also sell their wares through Amazon.com. Sometimes, but not always, that means you can get that merchandise with your Amazon Prime shipping. Always it means that you can have a portion of your purchase go to a charity of your choice through smile.amazon.com, or a website you like through an Amazon affiliates link. Amazon also offers an easy way to comparison shop — so, if, say, you're looking for a Disc 'o' Sit cushion for your child's chair at school, you've got options.
Buyer beware: Prices may be higher on Amazon than if you purchased directly from the manufacturer or catalog site (although they may also be lower). Open both sites and compare, factoring in shipping prices, availability, and speed of delivery.