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Holiday gift ideas for people with disability or chronic illness

This year, consider giving one of these inclusive gifts to celebrate and support disabled people

(Washington Post illustration)

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For the holidays, giving a gift that specifically considers a person’s disability can be a great way to make them feel seen and supported.

Many products in this guide are made by disabled people, who are more likely to face job discrimination or work limitations that can restrict their income. And you’ll find gift ideas for people with a variety of different needs and conditions.

And even if you aren’t shopping for someone with a disability, you can still support disabled people by buying holiday cards or sponsoring a guide dog, both of which are listed below. (All prices are subject to change.)

For people with illness or chronic conditions

A hot water bottle can soothe sore joints or muscles. Heat Treats, a company based in the United Kingdom, sells a variety of cute hot water bottle covers with their bottles, such as this cow-shaped cover. Hugo Frosch USA also sells faux fur covers, kids’ water bottles and a line of eco-friendly water bottle covers made from sustainable materials. Price: $23 from Heat Treats or $26.95 from Hugo Frosch

Clothing items like compression socks, gloves or braces can ease swelling and pain and help with chronic conditions associated with poor blood circulation, such as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Bibipins sells compression accessories in several fun patterns, such as these galaxy-patterned compression gloves. On its website, Bibipins is described as a “Black, disabled and queer owned company.” The shop also has a line of rainbow compression items to celebrate LGBTQ+ identities. Price: $15

A comfortable shirt to wear to chemotherapy

Cancer treatment often involves surgical placement of a port under the skin, usually on the chest. The port is used to draw blood or receive drug therapy without repeated needle sticks. These shirts from ComfyChemo, with zippers that make it easier to reach the port while keeping your shirt on, are designed by nurses, and they can make the chemo experience a little more comfortable. Price: $37.95

Spoonie Threads makes ostomy bag covers in fun patterns and colors, as well as some with humorous expressions such as “Go with the flow.” Another place to order fun ostomy bag covers is through Stoma Style, a business run by Lisa Wilkinson, a woman in the U.K. who has an ostomy bag and wears some of the designs she creates. Wilkinson ships to the United States for about $5, but orders can take two to three weeks to complete. Price: $17.50 from Spoonie Threads for one cover, or $30 from Stoma Style for two or three covers

For people who use mobility aids or prosthetics

Prosthetic leg sleeve covers

Getting a custom prosthetic paint job can be expensive, but a prosthetic sleeve can be a cheaper, fun way to add your personal style to a prosthetic. Fred’s Legs allows people to order sleeves with decorative patterns in specific sizes to match their prosthetics. The company was started in 2001 by Kurt Pauloz, an amputee who is also a certified and licensed prosthetist. Price: $27 and up

People who use wheelchairs often have to carry purses in their laps. But Ffora makes an essential bag set that can be attached to the side of a wheelchair. The company also makes other attachments for wheelchairs, such as cupholders. Price: $90

People who use mobility aids such as crutches, walkers or wheelchairs sometimes like to decorate them to add their personal style. Herboreal Art, run by a queer disabled woman, sells a pack of pretty mobility aid stickers that feature flowers for $17. Another option is to get this “Disability Is Diversity” sticker pack, from Crip Riot, a business with a diverse, intersectional team of deaf and disabled creators. Price: $13.99 to $17

Adaptive clothing eliminates back seams so that people who use wheelchairs can easily put on pants and comfortably sit in them all day long without pain. IZ Adaptive makes a variety of adaptive clothing such as jeans for women, which look stylish and professional. Price: $125

Made by Vermont Teddy Bear, these customizable amputee teddy bears are great gifts for children who might benefit from seeing their limb differences represented in their toys. The teddy bears are designed in partnership with the Amputee Coalition, a nonprofit group that provides support for amputees, and 20 percent of every sale goes to the coalition. Price: $70

For people who struggle with fine motor control skills

This cutting board from the Rehab Store comes with edges and spikes, which allows people with dexterity or fine motor issues to more safely and easily cut their food. The spikes can be used to hold the food in place while someone is cutting it, and the edges can keep things from falling off the cutting board. Price: $46

These EazyHold grips were created by three sisters who started to struggle with gripping things as they got older. They are easily washed and can be used to help grip tools, hair brushes, toys, forks, toothbrushes, cups or even tennis rackets. Price: $40

For people who are neurodiverse or who have cognitive disabilities

Fidget toys are helpful for those with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or autism. At the All Things Sensory Shop, fidget toys are made by Alissa, a 30-year-old with a sensory processing disorder, anxiety, ADHD and autism. In the shop’s mystery fidget bundle, you can indicate the sizes and colors of fidgets you want. You can even choose noisy or quiet fidgets. Price: $25

Pinch Me therapy dough is a therapeutic putty that can be used to reduce anxiety, improve hand strength in people with fine motor control issues, or give autistic people sensory stimulation through both touch and smell. Price: $29.95

Weighted blankets can be a great tool for people with ADHD or autism to calm down or counteract sensory overload. Mosaic Weighted Blankets is owned by Laura LeMond, a woman with a sensory processing and attention deficit disorders. The company offers prints that include Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” painting, unicorns or dinosaurs, and also allows you to order customized weighted blankets. Price: $130

People with ADHD can often struggle to remember where they put things, but this nifty bluetooth tracker from Tile Mate can help them easily find their most important items, such as a phone or keys. Price: $24.99

Disability awareness socks

Socks can be a great way to show off personality or disability pride, such as these Down Syndrome Awareness ones made by John’s Crazy Socks, a company started by John Lee Cronin, a man with Down syndrome who happens to have an affinity for socks. Some of the company’s sock designs feature drawings of superheroes with Down Syndrome that can give an extra boost of confidence to people wearing them. Five percent of the company’s earnings are donated to the Special Olympics. Price: $13.99

For people with vision or hearing loss

A stuffed animal seeing eye guide dog

These cute stuffed animals sold by Two Blind Brothers come with their own names stitched in Braille onto their ears. The company was created by blind brothers who use the profits to fund blindness research. Price: $32

Using noise to wake up can be difficult or impossible for people who are hard of hearing or deaf. But these alarm clocks made by Sonic Alert can go into someone’s pillow to wake them up with powerful buzzes and vibrations. Price: $36.99

Wearing clothes that show off American Sign Language can be a way for people who identify as part of the deaf community to show their pride. A number of deaf creators sell designs online, such as Ericka B. Olujie, a Black woman who says the purpose of her company, the Erry B. Shop, is to spread knowledge of Black deaf culture. Her apparel includes hats, T-shirts, pins, hoodies and tote bags. Price: starting at $18.99

This raised line drawing board sold by Blind in Mind, The Braille Superstore allows blind or low vision people to create tactile drawings with a regular sheet of paper and pen. Not only does this empower them to more easily make art, but it can encourage tactile literacy skills. Price: $14.95

Scattergories accessibility kit

The classic game of Scattergories can easily be made accessible to blind and low-vision people through an Accessibility Kit sold by 64 Oz. Games, which use Braille, tactile cues or sometimes QR codes. You can also find kits for other popular games including Settlers of Catan or Taboo. Prices generally range from $15 to $150

A children’s book featuring disabled characters

There are an increasing number of children’s books featuring disabled characters, and “I Deaf-initely Can, Rhett the Heeler” features not just a deaf woman but also her deaf dog. The story is based on the lives of Karlie Waldrip, a deaf education teacher in Texas who uses American Sign Language commands with Rhett, her deaf Australian cattle dog. Waldrip posts videos of Rhett’s tricks on Instagram. The book was illustrated by Lucy Rodgers, who is also deaf. Price: $18.99

Hearing aids can be vulnerable to damage from dust, dirt, sweat and water. Hearing aid sweatbands can help protect the devices, keeping them dry and clean. They could be especially useful for someone who is active or who loves the outdoors. They come in a variety of colors and the company was founded by man who wore hearing aids. Price: $29.95

To go with your gift, consider getting greeting cards made by the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists. Every piece of art sold by this self-help-oriented collective is painted by someone who either was born without hands or lost the use of their hands. Price: $10.95 for six cards

Sponsor a guide dog for the blind, either as a gift for someone else or on your own through the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, a U.K.-based charity. You can choose to sponsor puppies named Grace, Moose or Albus and get updates and photos on how the dog is developing. Price: $4.35 per month

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Abdullah Anaman
Abdullah Anamanhttps://aanaman.me
I am a highly competent IT professional with a proven track record in designing websites, building apps etc. I have strong technical skills as well as excellent interpersonal skills, enabling me to interact with a wide range of clients.
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