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Question Time: Assistive Devices

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82 responses to “Question Time: Assistive Devices”

  1. amandaw

    - My TENS machine is the gimme here.
    - The medicine bottles I carry around.
    - My shoes, which help me maintain the ability to stand/walk.
    - My bed, which is carefully put together to facilitate the best sleep possible, and chairs which help me stay upright without adding to my pain.
    - My various heating pads.
    - ETA: My shower chair (thanks Anna for reminding me! *slaps forehead*) Hello, it was the first “classic” assistive device I got (i.e. AD under a narrow/medical model definition).

    Those are just the basics of things that modify/adapt for me so that my body can better navigate my environment.

  2. Anna

    I don’t have any, but we’ve done stuff for Don around the house.

    He’s got a shower chair that lets him sit for showers and stuff. Between showers, we keep it next to the futon in the living room because it helps him to stand up.

    The futon in the living room is half folded out, so it’s got back support but also allows him to stretch out. All last year he didn’t have a space in the living room he could sit in most of the time, and now he’s got it, and it’s been a huge deal.

    We’ve got a toilet seat that’s higher (because he’s taller) and has the arm rests. (I don’t like it, but whatever – if I decide I really loathe it, there are lots of places I can go, or I can take the thing off when I use the washroom.)

    He’s got his cane (complete with little knitted cane cozy – it’s a snake! on his cane! oh, we’re so witty), and his sexy sexy wheelchair of awesome (which is electric).

    Meds. Lots of meds. I have to keep a list.

    And his access-a-bus pass. :)

  3. Li

    Hmm, I’m more with the head-crip, so outside of keeping my mild scoliosis managed enough so that it doesn’t interact with my anxiety I don’t really need devices.

    BUT: If it’s a day where I’m having trouble verbalising but still need to go out to a social event I’ll often patch or texta “Please ask before you touch me” or stuff like that onto my clothes or arm, which is like amazingly helpful sometimes. Does that count?

  4. Static Nonsense

    I like broad, gives me a chance to think about things more in depth to see how they could apply.

    - Cane’s an obvious one for people to see, though I don’t use it as often as I probably should.
    - A back brace for work and to help with posture at home when I need it.
    - Wrist braces for when I need more wrist stability than they can naturally offer, and to brace my hands at night to keep them from closing as I sleep.
    - Heating pads, heating patches, Tiger Balm and Epsom salt baths for muscle pain and tension.
    - Hand warmers for when my hands start to lock up, especially with cold temperatures.
    - My rolly computer chair.
    - Seconding the shoes one, with orthopedic inserts for my knees and hips.
    - An Unger Nifty Nabber.
    - My bags, so I can carry emergency medication, hand sanitizer (to help keep me from getting sick), sunglasses (to protect my eyes), foundation compact and my cellphone (in case I need to make an emergency phone call).
    - Makeup, to give me enough self-esteem so I can actually go out in public.
    - Jar openers in case I can’t open a jar.
    - A stable-backed chair so I can crack my back when I need to.

    That’s about all I can think of right now…

  5. Sarah

    Mine are mostly sensory stuff:

    -A weighted blanket, which I often like to use with other blankets and an additional ten pound weight provided by a wonderful cat.
    -Various sensory toys. I used to mostly use napkins and random pieces of papers which I found, but in the past few years I’ve taken to buying more elaborate toys. I particularly like the website Office Playground, and have been having a ridiculous amount of fun with the magnetic art balls I got from them last week.

  6. calixti

    Would my bracelets count? They’re rather heavy chainmail, and I wear them because without the weight on my wrists, my anxiety’s worse. They also give me something to fiddle with when I’m nervous, anxious, or just tightly-wound, preventing more destructive ‘fiddling’ like clawing at my skin or yanking my hair.

    My computer too, for basically the same reasons Chally said.

  7. Dogged

    Currently, at home:

    My car, which has automatic transmission. (I know automatic is the norm in the US, but it isn’t here in the UK.)
    My walk-in shower, so that I don’t have to climb over the edge of the bath.
    The lift in my building – again, unless they’re tower blocks, lifts aren’t the norm in UK buildings.
    My Stressless recliner.

    Although these aren’t devices designed specifically for disabled people, they’re things I deliberately looked for when I was finding somewhere to live, because I knew they would make my life with MY disability easier.

    At work we have a Technical Support Officer who helps everyone, but he helps me more than most. Specifically if I’m doing a job that needs me to use the van, he’s my driver since the van has manual transmission.

  8. thetroubleis

    My lovely service dog in training.

    My computer.

    My voice to text software.

    My knitting. I keeps me grounded and doesn’t hurt my hands.

  9. vesta44

    My meds, my minivan (can’t get in and out of car, knees don’t bend that much), and my Rollator walker with the seat. That walker is a lifesaver that lets me do more things with my husband (like go to the fair) because I have a seat with me so when my back and knees start hurting, I don’t have to hunt for a place to sit down and risk falling before I find one. And if necessary, DH can push me on it for short distances on smooth surfaces, like floors in stores and malls. Having it has really opened up my world.

  10. Kaitlyn

    Anna – there needs to be a knitted wheelchair cozy.

    Okay, pain and hunger has gotten to me.

    Bollywood, books, and the internet keep me distracted. So do the dogs.

    The laptop acts as a heating pad as well.

    The cell phone is also important.

    At school, I always have a fan with me. Sometimes the AC isn’t working, and sometimes the heater is.

    Not to mention carrying the meds with me.

  11. Kaz

    I am currently breaking in my iPhone. It is awesome for keeping a schedule (something I have had great difficulties with), keeping lists of all kinds of info I might need in one place (bus schedules, for instance), shopping lists, etc. One thing that has worked out *very* well which I was honestly not expecting was to write up a morning routine in one of the note-taking programs. It is amazing. Once I manage to heave myself out of bed, I grab my iPhone, look at the note and then rattle off everything in order. I often manage to wash, get dressed, grab everything I need and leave my room within around fifteen, twenty minutes; it used to take me longer than that just to get dressed because I’d keep getting sidetracked and discover that I was tidying my desk or had started reading a book or something like that.

    I’m thinking of working out some similar ones for going to bed, or for the office, because my distractibility often causes problems.

    It even helps with controlling my computer time, because I can do stuff like check my e-mail or check FWD (;)) on my phone without getting sucked in because the interface is still too annoying to do longer surfing.

    Speaking of controlling my computer time, assistive device number two – typing break software for repetitive strain injury (I use Workrave). This one tends to work middling because if I’m not feeling well I can’t do it or I just wind up turning it off, but it has helped me immensely in the past. What it does is turn off my computer screen and input to it for a set time period every X minutes (I usually use some variation on 2 minutes every 15 minutes). During those two minutes, I can stretch, grab a cup of something to drink, tidy up something small on my desk – this helps so much when it comes to keeping my room tidy, because if I try to go at it all at once I wind up unable to do anything at all – put things together for the laundry, things like that. It helps me not get stuck at the computer and means that I get more of an idea of time passing. The downside is that I do have to try and find a balance, because it can get kind of annoying if it’s too often. :/ But, seriously, I will sing the praises of this thing to anyone who is willing to listen.

  12. BE

    - My computer. It can talk. It’s excellent. And I can write stuff down and show people the screen. And I can take notes in class and be able to read them later. and then of course there’s all the online social stuff and ability to chase my special interests. Remember when there was no internet? Those days were a lot less fun.

    - My hat.
    I can pull it down and make the world small and not get distracted by Random. Also it is a brave hat. I wear hat, I have brave, I can leave house.

    - My bus pass. I can go on the bus for free. I can go anywhere the bus can go. And I know the bus will also go back from there, so I can rely on it and let my brain not-do all the way home. This also makes it immensely easier walking anywhere, because I know getting back can be the bus.

    - My MP3 player full of Doctor Who audios, without which I could not go on the bus.
    … the bus is scary. Traveling with the Doctor makes it not-scary.

    - My sonic screwdriver(s), for zapping scary things.
    … the scary is imaginary, so clearly the solution needs to be too…

    - things on my wrists
    watch band, time agent wrist strap, bracelets, tight gloves, it all works
    but if I have no things on my wrists I tend when nervous to tie myself up.
    … the particularly memorable time when I was doing a group presentation in front of the whole college class and realised I couldn’t raise my hands because I’d tied them to my waist with my scarf was… well… from these things we learn…

  13. thetroubleis

    Kaz, I really want an Android phone for some of the organizational apps. Smart phones are a lifesaver.

  14. Static Nonsense

    @Chally: Aha, I knew I forgot one. Computers are a big thing for me too, because it’s significantly easier to interact with people through the filter of text and the Internet than it is in real life. Having access to a backspace and delete button is wonderful, as is being able to simply click away from a stressful environment. Oh and being able to keep in touch with friends and family that aren’t local. I’ve even used IMs to talk with people that are in the same room as me if speaking verbally is problematic. Thanks for reminding me!

  15. Kaitlyn

    The computer has been there for me with all my major health issues, except for the skin (no laptop, couldn’t sit). What really helped were message boards – I was at Neopets for the longest time, than I started posting at the political boards at IMDb, then a group of us moved to a board another person had created.

    And now? BollyWHAT? and ::sigh:: facebook. And this place!

    The time before the internet… I’m jealous of military brats now, they have the internet. Even in Iceland!

  16. Este Yarmosh

    I use (and have used all my life in varying instances) a leg brace, a heel-cup, and shoe inserts interchangeably. When I was younger, I wore a hand splint for certain lengths of time as part of physical therapy.

  17. snarkmuffin

    I have a laptop that I always use to take notes for classes – because of my LD, it’s very hard to write by hand. I also have Dragon NaturallySpeaking for essays and such, but I tend not to use it lately.

    Also, oddly enough, I find that playing repetitive computer games like tetris, bejeweled, or solitaire help to calm me down when I’m anxious. Also, having jewelery seems to help with my anxiety and sensory issues.

    I want to get a weighted blanket eventually, but it kind of seems out of my price range at the moment.

  18. LeeLee

    Most of my kitchenware has been test-driven to ensure I can use it all by my lonesome. Can opener with the really big turny-thing. Really good knives so chopping takes less time. And my favorite kitchen toy-cum-adaptive-doohickey is my mini food processor/immersion blender. It’s great for chopping things when my hands and wrists refuse to cooperate. And it’s dishwasher safe! (But when reassembling the blade assembly, be careful. Yowch.)

    I grew up with really old people, one of whom was only 5 ft tall before she started shrinking. I just set up houses to be fairly accessible, because otherwise the grandmas would yell at me. Or just cluck at me.

    We got stuck with a two-story house. Not good. I keep a large basket at the bottom of the stairs to fill with detritus from the downstairs that needs to go up. Saves me countless trips up the stairs. Next house will be one story.

  19. abby jean

    @snarkmuffin – i don’t think that use of tetris/bejeweled/etc is odd at all. here’s a link to a recent-ish washington post article about that very topic, including a discussion of use of bejeweled for anxiety! i’ve often used it that way myself – at one point i regularly dreamed of falling tetris blocks because i was playing so much.

  20. Kaz

    @thetroubleis – they really are! And I don’t think going for the really really posh option (iPhone) is necessary; I only wound up doing it because a) I needed the help *now* not later, b) I was not sure about the organisers on the other phones I looked at and that was my primary reason for getting a smartphone. I had a lot of conversations that went along these lines:

    “Okay, I’m glad it has all these extra features (that I will never ever use) but does it have an good organiser?”
    “Oh, it can do the essentials.”
    “The essentials? Does it support custom categories for to-do lists, and filtering by them? Colour-coding of diary entries? Synching with Mac, Vista *and* Ubuntu?”
    “…”

    …so I got an iPhone. Which I don’t regret, because the organiser is really awesome (it’s an app), but frack I am starting to hate Apple. I am a Linux girl through and through and the stuff is all so… *proprietary*. I can’t actually synch directly with Ubuntu at all, because there’s no Linux version of iTunes. My organiser has to synch via Google Calendar and ToodleDo because iPhone won’t let it use the synching options the native calendar app gets. Everything seems to cost money. The program to synch up my contact list (such a basic thing, I’d think!) costs money. My open source soul is suffering, I tell you. [/ranty digression]

    Oh yeah, another one for assistive devices: my iPod, in-ear earphones, and/or my earplugs (although I only have cheap foam ones.) My best friend for noisy environments. Downside: I seem to have really weirdly shaped ears and have been having a hell of a time finding earphones that don’t start to hurt if I’ve had them in for an hour or so.

  21. snarkmuffin

    @abby jean

    What a cool article! I kind of thought I was the only one who used those games as a coping strategy. Thanks for the link!

  22. Static Nonsense

    Thirding the MP3 player one. Good for distracting myself from people around me and filtering out sound. I used to use it a lot in class, otherwise paranoia, anxiety and hallucinations wouldn’t let me concentrate.

  23. meloukhia

    My laptop. Has made such a difference in my life. Being able to work outside, to work in bed, to change positions. Huge improvement which I was not at all expecting; I was amazed at how liberated I feel being able to use a laptop again.

    On an extension of that, my im client, because I really prefer being able to chat with people. I loathe phones, and im’ing with people helps me keep in touch with people. I also don’t really like going out, at all, “don’t really like” being the understatement of the decade, so having im helps me keep in touch with people who live locally as well as far away.

    My barrel chair; it’s the perfect size for me to squeeze into and feel pressured and surrounded and totally protected (sort of like those awesome hugging machines). When I feel like I am spinning out of orbit, I plop my ass down in there and force myself to chill out for a little while, and it really helps.

    My notepad; I like that I can use it to communicate with people when I am not feeling verbal, and that I can use it to take notes. I also tend to parse thoughts better in writing, so sometimes when I am having a hard time and I am not near a computer, I will use my notebook to write it out. Or I will sketch in it when I forced to be in social situations and I need to get away but have to be subtle about it.

    My car; I think someone else mentioned this above too, and it feels weird to refer to a car as an assistive device, but it really is. I live in a very rural area with poor public transit and I went a long time without a car and it was really, really hard on me. The ability to go places without needing to rely on people is huge, and I also like being able to drive to think stuff out (while listening to loud music) (with the top down). I know it’s bad for the environment, but…long drives help me process.

    calixti, I also like wearing heavy bracelets! So yes, they count. They calm me and help keep me focused. I have a really lovely pair of heavy cuffs given to me by a dear friend which I wear pretty regularly.
    .-= meloukhia´s last blog ..Sookie and Me =-.

  24. Monica

    @calixti: Would my bracelets count? They’re rather heavy chainmail, and I wear them because without the weight on my wrists, my anxiety’s worse. They also give me something to fiddle with when I’m nervous, anxious, or just tightly-wound, preventing more destructive ‘fiddling’ like clawing at my skin or yanking my hair.

    This is a revelation for me. I’ve had generalized anxiety disorder all my life– undiagnosed, misdiagnosed as pure depression and then well-treated, and now getting worse again. I’ve had a head-scratching thing since I was about ten but lately it’s reached kind of epic proportions, and I’m getting self-conscious in class, but– FIDDLING. I could totally start wearing jewelry again and fiddle.

    @BE: I am kind of the same way with scarves, or a big cozy sweater. It helps me feel protected.

    I’m big on makeup as an assistive device– it feels like I’m putting on my armor; it’s a ritual to calm me before I leave my room and go out into the world.

    The DRUGZ, without which I would be doing even worse than I am now.

    My night guard, to prevent me from grinding my teeth/clenching my jaw so hard in my sleep that I get a headache the next day.

    My orthotic inserts, without which my ankles would cause me constant pain.

    My iPod/headphones, to help me center myself on the way to class, and block out voices and ambient noise when I’m trying to study.

    My cell phone, which enables me to keep in touch with my family and my therapist, all of whom are based in a city in the next state over.

    My car, which lets me drive into town to pick up my DRUGZ whenever I need to, and go home to visit my family on breaks from school.

    My laptop, to help me do schoolwork and interact with people and read this amazing website which has helped me to accept my anxiety disorder as a disability and continues to educate me in countless ways about things which I would otherwise (much to my chagrin) not even have considered. And it lets me watch TV (thank Maude for Hulu!) and knit, which is my primary recharging/wind-down activity.

  25. romham

    - 2 forearm crutches, and a cane (sometimes use that around the house instead),
    - molded plastic wrist braces,
    - orthotics,
    - tub bars and seat, showerhead-on-a-hose(!dont know wtf id do without that thing),
    - my reacher (also totally indispensable, dont know wtf id do without that little invention),
    - gimp buspass (seriously indispensable–never thought about it as an assistive device…but i guess it is?),
    - the disability services department at the college im taking a class at just got me a digital recorder and laptop with voice recognition software so i can have full notes and generally get the most out of the class,
    - daytimer to keep me organized (otherwise the add + head injury would have me off eating ice cream somewhere when im supposed to be in class lol)

    - and a bunch of other randomly helpful things i cant think of right now…theres a lot of things i usually dont think of as assistive devices, but that really are i guess…hm…

  26. LeeLee

    Kaz – I have itty-bitty ears that may also be shaped oddly, and there’s some weird nerve issue that makes my ears turn bright red and get hot. Finding earbuds was a grail quest. I finally settled on some, Ear Candy is the brand I think, that has 3 different size squishy parts, one of which is small. Comfy!

  27. amandaw

    I wasn’t sure what to call it when I started it, but I like to document things that fit in the broad definition… I liked “the crutch list” based on the same reasoning as the recent guest post (crutches are a GOOD thing!) but thought a lot of people might not get it. So I went with my slightly rambly “things that make my life easier.” I really should collect them all on a page but Pizza Diavola has links at the bottom of this post (Shorter Peter Singer: Being Disabled Sucks, or How To Wallow In Ableism) (which might be an emotionally difficult read; search for “further reading” to get past that part).

    It’s not really catchy or anything, but I think it gets to the point. They’re just… things that make our lives easier. Which have no moral attachment. They’re just things. That help you. That’s it. (And they aren’t always devices in the way most of us read that word, though I guess a technique or strategy is also a device, technically!)

    Anyway, my intro post is here (Things That Make My Life Easier) and I *definitely* do not mind people stealing the idea because I love to see people detail their own things and their particular situation and why those things help.

    (/shameless)

  28. Stef

    My cane, for days when walking is difficult.

    My computer, which allows me to run a business from home and to stay in contact with the outside world when I’m housebound for days or weeks.

    My car, which helps me be productive outside of the house on good days.

    My TENS machine, which helps me cope.

    My cutco knives, which are sharp and fit my hands well.

    My slow cooker, deep freezer, food processor, bread machine, immersion blender and large pots and pans, which allow me to make nutritious meals and snack foods for myself and my family on days when I have the spoons to cook and bake, and then freeze them for the days that I don’t.

    My cellphone, with texting and internet, that helps me keep in contact with family and friends while out of the house or stuck in bed, without requiring me to speak or listen if I am dealing with a migraine or too-much ambient noise to hear well.

    My warm sweaters and socks, which helps keep me from getting clod enough that my joints lock up without bankrupting my family on heating oil.

    Heating pads, portable massagers, meds, and muscle cream that help me recover from painful days.

  29. meloukhia

    Oh, romham, I miss my shower chair/extendable shower head. So. Much. My shower is a chintzy piece of crap with these fakeout grab bars and I fall in it all the time. I haven’t worked up the nerve to ask my landlord to replace it.

  30. BE

    people are listing kitchen things – I love my microwave. My microwave goes beep every two minutes after it is done. Since I got it I haven’t even once found yesterday food still in the microwave. Big improvement!

  31. Jesse the K

    @BE word on the microwave. Mine beeps 5 times when it’s done, then waits two minutes and beeps 4 times and so on.

    Lowered counter & cooktop in kitchen: I can work sitting down or standing up with my arms in relaxed dangling mode.

    “Upside down” fridge: the freezer part is in a drawer on the bottom as pictured in this remarkably illegible web site

    10,000 LUX “SAD therapy light box” to stare at between the Fall and Spring Equinoxes.

    A variety of things provide fiddly-joy to counter anxiety and soothing texture-joy to center me, including necklaces with big pendants, dangle earrings, jade bangle bracelet, and a silk scarf to wipe my hands and face.

    Various polar fleece remnants I roll into props when a body part is too sore or tired to hold itself up.

    The plates and screws in my right ankle holding it all together as well as the crowns in my teeth

    Brand new computer glasses which have so much prism I could split wood with them! plus the computer I wear the glasses for.

    iPod Touch (iPhone minus the phone service) for lists and calendars and reading ebooks.

    Cell phone for drug alarms four times/day, as well as texts and emergency calls. And the drugs it reminds me to take, including pills, supplements & inhalers

    Living in a one-floor house within ready rolling distance of four bus lines (since I don’t drive).

    Power wheelchair to get to the bus, ride in comfort, and move freely in my community.

    Walking poles for exercise — much kinder on the arms than two canes.

  32. the fat nutritionist

    Medication.

    The book “Get It Done When You’re Depressed,” which has so many strategies for getting things done that I think it would help anyone who has trouble with productivity due to fatigue or spoon deficiency or whathaveyou — doesn’t have to be depression specifically.

    DEFINITELY my computer, and its access to the internet.

    Orthotics.

    This is a kind of funny one, but — keeping spray cleaner and paper towels out on the counter in the bathroom. That way, I wipe *something* down each time I’m in there, and take 30 seconds to spray the shower after I’m done showering. Because I just don’t have the energy to do a weekly clean-a-thon. I’m trying to make lots of little alterations like this around the house so I can keep stuff reasonably tidy with minimal effort, and so that if I have a bad day, it doesn’t all go to hell in a handbasket, you know?

    And, last but not least — COFFEE. Sometimes it is literally the only reason I get out of bed in the morning.

    /blabberblabber

  33. Samantha

    Oh wow, reading though this list I keep smiling to myself when other people use the same items in the same ways I do. So, without further ado:

    - My computer. First, because it allows me to connect to and stay in contact with my friends, who I’m dependent on for support. Secondly, being able to be mute is very important to me both emotionally and in controlling my vocalizations. My computer allows me to be mute without having to give up communicating. Finally, I use it as an organizer and I’d simply be lost without that function.

    - My twiddlers/sensory toys. I’d be a nervous wreck if I couldn’t have my sensory toys. I like tossing things to myself so balls with different, interesting textures are my favourite. Although, in public I usually prefer a poofy hair tie I wear around my wrist and twiddle (again with lots of interesting textures) or a pen.

    - My glasses. They give me something in my field of vision that provide me comfort. Like bangs, only better. Oh, and they help me see, too. ;)

    - My bus pass. I’m not able to drive so having this thing is what allows me to go places without being dependent on other people to shuttle me around all the time.

    - My jacket. When my vocalizations are very loud and would cause significant issues in my current environment I can hold my jacket over my mouth when I hear a scream or bark coming on to make it quieter.

    - My purse. Carries around all my other tools, plus my meds.

    - My pillows piled up on my bed. Reclining while doing work on my laptop takes strain off of my back which significantly reduces my day-to-day pain.

    Making this list was fun! Just thinking of all the ways I’ve coopted everyday objects to help with my needs. I take that stuff for granted but when you stop to think about it it’s just cool. Also, seeing all the other people who use similar objects in similar ways is neat.

  34. lauredhel

    My scooter.
    Crocs.
    Remote-controlled air conditioner.
    Pillows. Lots and lots of pillows.
    TENS machine.
    Crockpot (I can put a meal on when I’m at my peak energy level, and there’s no stirring or tricky timing.)
    Accessible parking permit.
    Fingerless gloves, alpaca beanie, Explorer socks, and fleece pullovers (in winter).
    Sunhat and sunscreen.
    SIGG water bottle (which I can drink from lying down without spilling).
    Meds, and a weekly pill organiser.
    Comfy bed.
    My laptop.
    Rolling overbed (next-to-bed) table.
    iCal and all its reminders and alarums.
    Cellphone – with mp3 player, reminders and alarums, access to emergency calls, etc.
    Cordless landline phone.
    A “fuck femininity” approach to personal grooming.
    And like snarkmuffin, playing Bejeweled helps me think through verbal stuff. I posted about this on my DeeWee recently, and a lot of people reported the same sort of experience.

    What I’d rather like: A front door intercom and remote unlocking device.

    Unreachable dream desire: a fabulous all-terrain low-footprint turns-on-a-dime power chair.

    From the previous comments, what I most wish I could have: coffee.

  35. kaninchenzero

    I have a cane which I should use more than I do — walking was noticeably a problem today. But it hurts my back to use it so I don’t much.

    I have a TENS but lately my skin’s been flipping out at the slightest thing. Having big craters dug to remove mole samples for biopsy is more than slight so big thing. Skin is a mess. No TENS.

    Big stompy boots with laces that go straight across and I love how symmetrical that is and I need to polish them. Unfortunately for me I seem to be sensitive to horsehair which is what my brushes are made out of and so ended my career as a bootblack. But I have a vest with a patch on it that proves I was one once, even if my boots don’t look like it right now.

    The little dangly thing on my keychain that generates pseudo-random six-digit numbers that lets me log into my employer’s VPN and thus work from home. The second desktop box on my desk that has all the work stuff that does likewise. The 16GB USB flash drive that has MY ENTIRE FUCKING LIFE on it. (It’s backed up on two different HDDs.)

    The big bottle of opioid narcotics that goes with me everywhere. The serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors that keep depression from keeping me in bed all the time. Or from killing myself. Because there are actually things I’d like to be around for since I’ve stayed this long. Like getting the white hair to go with the wrinkles I’m finally starting to get around my eyes.

    The cats that come find me when they think I’m upset or am not paying them sufficient attention and climb on my chest and stand on the floating ribs or my nipples (or both!) and make it hard to breathe. They’re such graceful beasties. Never for a second grateful though, and they shouldn’t be.

    The wrist braces for when my hands hurt. The squishier wrist braces that are more comfortable for sleeping in. The t-shirt I wear to fend off the DEATH WIND from the fan — the wife gets claustrophobic if the air isn’t moving but the air blowing across me aggravates the fibro so we compromise and I wear clothes.

    Cowboy Bebop. Wuxia movies. The novels of Candas Jane Dorsey. The Exalted Second Edition library, courtesy of BitTorrent. The Wire, via Netflix, which is the BEST THING ON TELEVISION EVER. God of War and its sequel which isn’t like quality storytelling and has some ghastly treatment of women but God of War II has Linda Hunt as the voice of Gaia and we finally get to see her and she’s fucking awe-inspiring sisters I say unto you the earth herself stood up and walked that day.

    I’m typing this under the influence of two muscle relaxants, a class II opioid analgesic, and a hypnotic, so it may get a little wobbly. Or florid. Pray do forgive me, it’s been too long since I’ve had any damn caffeine.

    And today, today I have a shiny shiny new assistive device, I do. A gift — a proper gift, not a solicited gift — from my toxic grandmother. She decided I needed to be able to work from bed with my legs up and so needed a notebook. I think she meant paid work but I’ll take what I can get. So now Moira has a shiny shiny black new Toshiba Satellite A505 And it’s so preeeeeeeeeetty. It’s all black and sleek and has white glowy bits and not blue which bodes well for it being able to stay here while I’m sleeping.

    Which I should do soon. ’cause sleep is the best thing ever, and it’s even better than having a new new shiny toy to play with.

  36. Samantha

    Gah! I *knew* I was forgetting something important! My bottles and other “grown-up sippy cups” so I don’t fling juice across the room when my muscles tic.

  37. The Bald Soprano

    Computer/Internet

    Puzzle Pirates and Websudoku (the same way some of y’all use Bejeweled, etc., I use sudoku and puzzle pirates puzzles and sometimes Text Twist)

    Subway pass (and busses, and trams, but the subway stop is a block from our door.)

    The hand-holdable shower head.

    Complete sets of TV-show DVDs, to help me stay lying down when I really need to (I am not good at not getting up and trying to do things).

    A very nice mattress that doesn’t make my back hurt more overnight.

    Vivo Barefoot shoes which let me stand/walk much longer without back pain than any other shoes I’ve had since the back injury.

    This one is very individual, but I just this weekend bought a table-top tablet-weaving loom –I had always done tablet weaving backstrap loom style (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loom#Backstrap_loom), but the strap for that goes around my waist RIGHT OVER the slipped discs, so that hasn’t been possible the last couple of years.

    Advil.

    I’m just starting to explore the possibilities of computer organizers.

  38. stephanie

    Sunglasses, earplugs,a hat, an umbrella, the internet, my bright yellow industrial earmuffs, closed captioning, peppermint and my dishwasher.

    These are a few of my favorite things.

  39. Sammie

    My meds, even though some days I’m not sure that they’re actually helping.

    My phone – mostly for texting and internet, to keep me communicating with people. Also, whoever decided to install Opera Mini on this model deserves an award. Seriously.

    My mp3 player (my phone’s currently doing this job since I broke the last one, but it counts) – this helps with my anxiety and stops me from trying to listen to everything going on around me (when I lost my hearing in my left ear, I lost the ability to work out where sounds are coming from, so when I’m in a busy place, I get dizzy trying to follow the sounds – listening to music stops me from even attempting this).

    Various fiddling devices – bracelets, necklaces, cuddly toys.

    Really nice bath stuff – I have a variety of shower gels and soaps that I use to calm myself down (when dealing with anxiety), cheer myself up (when dealing with depression), or snap myself out of it (when dealing with flashbacks related to PTSD). If I’ve been dealing with really bad triggers, I have a tendency to scrub my skin raw, so I really need something to take me out of that place.

    Hot chocolate – helps me sleep when I’ve had a bad day, and hopefully the sleep will make the next day easier to cope with.

    One thing I’d really like is a doorbell – because of my hearing problems, I can’t tell the difference between someone knocking on my front door, my back door and my neighbours’ doors. Sometimes I even mistake my neighbours doing DIY for knocking, which is annoying. Also, bang-type noises make me anxious, so it would (hopefully) cut down on that too.

  40. Sammie

    stephanie (#40) – I totally forgot about closed captioning/subtitles! I always use them when they’re available too…

  41. lauredhel

    Ooh, and can I count my no-knead bread recipe? Because, yeah. RAWK.

    And my oil burner, and lavender essential oil.

  42. Norah

    My computer
    My mp3 player (like earplugs but better)
    My books (always at least 1 with me)
    My bag (the bag is like a grounding object or a comfort object, the book too with the added benefit that it is entertaining too and one of the few things that helps me block stuff out)
    Heavy shoes and clothing
    Earplugs
    My looks (as in style, if it’s outrageous enough people actually don’t really notice YOU or a lot of stuff about you, it’s like hiding.)
    Laxatives (for constipation associated with IBS), another thing I usually carry with me especially if I’m gone for more than a day.

    Then there is a long list of things I would really like/need, but that I do not have (often because of cannot), like weighted blankets, weighted vests, a device that can do text to speech or pictures to speech, that I can programme myself, among other things.

  43. Lexin

    At home:
    the dishwasher (I would not cope alone without it)
    my computer (likewise)
    the laptop work provided which allows me to work from home some days
    my special (ergonomic) keyboard and mouse
    my medication
    the walk-in shower (I must get a shower chair)

    At work:
    the humidifier which keeps the air at a breatheable level of wet
    my stick (cane), which helps me move around and also signals to others that hey, this person needs help
    my special chair which supports my back
    the two footstools which help me sit at my desk
    the special (ergonomic) keyboard and mouse

    Not sure if it counts, but the various “reasonable adjustments” my employer has agreed to around my appointments with my therapist and time off for visits to the psychiatrist. They’re playing a vital part to keep me at work.

  44. Astrid

    - My computer with text-to-speech software (although I use that rarely) and a braille display. It is my writign device, my reading device for study and leisure (I do have a DAISY player, but it kicked the bucket just a few weeks ago), my #1 mode of communication, and probably many others but I can’t think of them at the moment.
    - My white cane, obviously.
    - My bus pass, which lets someone ride the bus for free if they accompany me (I have to pay my tickets).
    That’s what I can think of now, but I think there are other things I use.

  45. Norah

    Heh… and to show how some things get so ‘normal’ that I (and probably lots of other people) stop thinking about them as assistive devices (but which I just remembered ought to count): my glasses, without which I’d have a lot more headaches and would be too scared to travel by train alone (among other things) (couldn’t read the signs, asking people often not an option).

  46. LeeLee

    Oh yeah! How could I forget my drugs?! Maybe because I count them as food.

    The giant tub of laundry detergent that has a dispenser spout. My husband buys it and puts it on the shelf, and I’m good for 6 weeks or so. Awesome possum. And diswasher detergent tabs. No lifting bottles of detergent!

    I dearly want a household cart – kind of like the carts used in hospitals or by busboys in restaurants. I could roll my pots around and deliver various junk to its appropriate rooms. But my two-story townhouse is also bite-sized, and really wouldn’t accomodate a cart. (Never move cross-country, on a week’s notice, when you have the need for a specific kind of living arrangement. Bad plan.)

    I’ve been “high strung” all my life, but any serious anxiety I had I managed to channel into phobias – heights, horses, driving. I finally got mostly over the driving one. Kinda. But as my pain has increased over the years, my anxiety had generalized, partly as a pain response, I think. I’m in “flight mode” most of the time. I also wear scarves All. The. Time. But I never put 2 and 2 together – I think I may be using them as armor and comfort. And they make a plain top look damn spiffy.

  47. Rainbow

    My tiny lap top with screen reader and scan to voice software. There’s nothin I can’t do with these, surf the net, write essays, scan and read books, send e-mails, pretty much everything sighted people can do, it’s amazing how incredulous some sighted people are that blind people can and do use the net just like them! Also, I can do grocery shopping online which is so so helpful, and, well, you all know what a lifeline the net and computers in general are, though I wish the university support office would stop trying to update me to Vista, it just doesn’t work well with my screen reader.

    My white cane – it lets me navigate about, avoid obstacles, locate doors, steps, etc. in valuable. My OCD means I just couldn’t cope with a guide dog cause I can’t get past the idea of animals not being clean and the smell and animal hair would make me miserable and uncomfortable in my own home, plus my lifestyle (going out lots to noisy places)wouldn’t be suitable. People always ask why I don’t have a dog but it’s my choice and I have to think about what’s best for me and for a dog, and the white cane is best for me.

    Blue tac – you can buy stickers to put on ovens, microwaves, etc. to identify where settings you use are, but for a fraction of the price blue tac does just as good a job, and seems to stay in place longer! So, hooray for blue tac, it’s stuck all over our oven and microwave!

    TV, radio, MP3 player, anything that makes a persistent noise. I can’t cope with silence, I think it might be like having a fear of the dark is for sighted people (though I can’t really compare) but the idea that something could be hiding in it, my mind starts to play tricks and I hear things that aren’t there, a constant low level of sound helps me relax, not so bad when I[‘m outside because of all the comforting street noise.

    What I need: something indestructable to chew. I have a habit of chewing things, I find it comforting, but can’t really indulge it because everything around the house is not meant for chewing and buying something specifically for the purpose would not do much for my self esteem, but it would be nice to have a human equivalent of a dog chew toy!

  48. Jesse the K

    @Rainbow: can you roll up a sheet of blue tac to gnaw on? I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but the pet store has itty-bitty soft rubber/vinyl toys which have a nice rebound to them, and you could always eviscerate the squeaker.

    Morning-after additions:

    Headache minimizers: the hat that’s always keeping the bright lights of out of my eyes
    Foam earplugs for when I’m in the world or on the bus

    Closed captioning

    Electric toothbrush

    Compression stockings

    Sticky notes to display prominently in front of me to remind me what I’m doing.

  49. deborah

    Traditional technology: My speech recognition software and a variety of wireless or noise canceling headsets. My headset telephone. My cirque touchpad. My kenisis advantage keyboard. My exceedingly light but powerful laptop which can run my adaptive technology but which I can also carry. My speech recognition software. Workrave. My multitude of browsers with their various extensions which make them more accessible.

    Nontraditional: Preserve curved toothbrushes. My zipper puller. My backpack which goes around my waist instead of over my shoulders. A kitchen full of plastic instead of metal or glass. Ice. My voice recorder. This one brand of gel pen that doesn’t hurt my hand. Book holders. The way I’ve arranged my keys and my ID on my keychain so I can use the ID to turn the key. Mittens to keep me from using my hands when I am tempted. And on and on and on.

  50. P. G. Dudda

    Just to provide a list from a different disability:

    – visual alerts: fire alarm, doorbell, alarm clock
    – closed captioning/subtitles
    – DVD rentals (because so few movies run with captioning)
    – cellphone set to vibrate instead of ring
    – IM/text/SMS services (and TTY for emergencies when I can’t be bothered to put on my hearing aids because I’m too sick)
    – cane for knee issues (haven’t had that in a couple years, but still…)
    – volume control on all phones
    – telecoil compatible headset for work phone (I do tech support)
    – “stress toys” for anxiety and emotional self-regulation
    – bubble bath and bath salts for relaxation and decompression after a day spent trying to Hear Everything, All The Time
    – online news sources so I don’t have to listen to TV/radio sources
    – transcripts of online videos

  51. Static Nonsense

    Speaking of bread, the bread machine my mother gave me (since she never uses it anymore) is awesome. No kneading and I can make bread without any problematic ingredients like HFCS and milk. Score!

    @Rainbow: There’s the option of teething rings too. I know a couple people that have considered those and hell, so have I since I can’t chew gum.

  52. buttercup

    My cane-both as an aid to walking and as a signal to others that I need more space and etc.

    My “crip cred”, handicapped parking permit.

    My husband.

  53. meloukhia

    Rainbow: Teething rings! Or teething things in general. I use them a lot because I also like to chew/bite things. They’re usually big (to avoid accidental swallowing) and they are pretty tough. I have one in particular that I love because it goes in the freezer and sometimes I feel like chewing cold things.

  54. LeeLee

    For chewing, and also for ice-chewers who would like to not break their teeth, slightly dampen baby washcloths and freeze. It helps teething babies, too. Lots of teething/chewy things are heavy on the latex, and a latex-allergy rash around the mouth or on the tongue would be no fun.

  55. Li

    Yeah, so to add; Heavy blankets (that this is something other people care about is pretty amazing), captions for when I sense overload (remember when you had black squares on white? I spent like half an hour distracted by the optical illusion).

    My pension card. Which is amazingly new and the only nice thing I have ever been sent by a government organisation.

  56. tg

    I had a few ideas and then realized more while reading everyone’s comments!

    SADelite (anti-seasonal affective disorder light)

    Epi-Pen (rarely needed, but can’t get more assistive than a medication that immediately reverses a process that would result in a painful death)

    Orthotics

    Google Calendar, soon to be part of a smartphone. (Kaz, I too love open-source and seriously considered the Droid in part because it integrates better with Google calendar, but my hubby’s already on iPhone and my employer provides a bigger discount with AT&T, so iPhone family plan it will be.)

    Rice cooker is the biggest blessing of kitchen devices: nearly impossible to burn rice now

    At work, Outlook calendar for organization plus headphones for iPod/radio/CDs for concentration

  57. romham

    - oooh and my boots with permanent lace-ups but with a zipper on the side–indispensable for this boot wearer.

    - remote goddamn controls

    i never thought of meds as devices per se so i didnt add it here.

  58. The Nerd

    Calendars, alarms, reminders… any way I can be sure to remember what needs to be done. I would forget my own birthday without an automatic email in my inbox telling me when it’s coming up.

  59. Nickie

    Mine would include my Guide Dog Julio, my forearm crutch or walker if the pain is too bad, heat packs, pillows for propping myself nicely, my computer with Window Eyes,, my Victor Reader Stream and my cell phone which has Mobile Speaks. Of course there is the medication part, too.

  60. AB

    - center pull for wide drawers with 2 knobs (home made)
    - “dvorak lefty” one-handed keyboard layout software (free download)
    - alphabet stickers to convert my iSkin keyboard to dvorak lefty – then i can take it off and change back to US layout when other folks need to use my computer – sweet! (home made)
    - bags of feed or seed and a heavy backpack (like heavy blankets)
    - tennis balls, silly putty, cows, other futzy things
    - hearing protection (stolen from my tool box)
    - bluetooth headset
    - camelback waterbottle w/ a bite (does not break, does not spill all over me when I try to drink, but sometimes drips when left on it’s side)
    - things that do not break!!

  61. Kaz

    I am getting so many ideas from this. Teething rings, oh my god. (Tendency to put things into mouth, check.) And stressballs and things for sensory stimulation. I usually find jewellery too much effort, but I have used dangly earrings as my fiddly-thing. Otherwise I tend to find something in the environment, which can sometimes lead to Blutack or paperclip sculptures or other oddities. Which is, er, bad when you’re trying *not* to look eccentric. And rice cooker! (Now people just have to invent a pasta cooker and I’m all set…)

    @tg, if you want a good calendar I recommend Pocket Informant. It does unfortunately cost money ($*%($&$% proprietary!) but not that much and is being brilliant. :) Synchs well with Google Calendar and Toodledo for your to do list and all sorts of stuff. TBH I didn’t even bother trying with the built-in iPhone one because I knew it wouldn’t have enough features.

    Oh yeah, and I guess my speech therapy practice program counts as an assistive device, but I have mixed feelings about that because I have mixed feelings about speech therapy in general.

    Other things that are *really* stretching the definition to the breaking point – ensuite bathroom (which I will have to give up next year, le sigh) and kitchen on the same floor as my room. Last year I lived three flights up from the kitchen and it was a nightmare. And not running the risk of running into people or in fact needing to leave my room at all in order to go to the bathroom or shower is so so so helpful. Assistance I wish I had is a laundry machine in my flat, or at least in my building – it’s in another building, so I have to go outside and across the lot to get there lugging my laundry, and half the time everything’s full and there are people waiting and looking at me and… laundry is a problem k. :(

  62. meloukhia

    Oh, Kaz, I am right there with you with the laundry. The laundrymat is one of the most unpleasant things I have to endure. If there was physical space in my house for a washer/dryer (or one of them nifty Eurowasher things that’s two in one! How do they do that?! Magic!) I would so shell out the cash. Because I love clean things (speaking of sensory stimulation, I LOVE a tightly made bed with crisp freshly washed sheets).

    I will also ‘fess up to owning a number of products which are intended as sensory stimulation for babies/toddlers beyond teething rings. Since, well, they provide sensory stimulation for adults, too. I like clicky things and rattlers and other things I can fidget with, and I like that stuff intended for young children is usually very easy to care for (and often machine washable).

  63. The White Lady

    The most obvious one I can think of is my symbol cane.

    actual headphone with a band that goes over my head.
    ipod
    several books
    notepad
    laptop
    clothes that cover as much skin as possible
    different crafts, like knitting and crocheting
    coloured pens, for colour coding.
    music

    there are probably more, but I can’t think right now lol

  64. coldneedles

    -my seat-cane- for keeping my balance, sitting on when I have to wait and acting as a visual reminder not to push or nudge me.
    -TENS unit
    -electric blanket for resting with aching muscles
    -hot water bottle
    -medicine and water to take it with
    -my laptop
    -earplugs and sleep mask
    -shower seat

    I find other people’s lists very useful. I did actually start using some of these things as a result of amandaw’s series of posts. I wasn’t commenting much at the time (for some reason once I mastered my phone-anxiety I started to get really worried about the internet and email), but I’d like to say thanks now for making my life easier as well.

  65. thetroubleis

    @ Kaz.

    The openness of Android and the fact that they have phones with real keyboards is why I’m looking at those phones.

    Google even found a way to make button less phones dial-able by people who can’t see or aren’t looking at the screen.

    I’m just working on saving up at this point, but my regular cell phone has saved my life a few times. Too bad the state won’t pay for one, lol.

  66. Virginia S. Wood, Psy.D.

    Seat-cane? Want!

    I have a collection of canes which I am building, to match various outfits. That’s fun!

    Forearm crutches. One still has camo-tape all over it, from when I could still hike (was still foolishly hiking) in the woods with my camera.

    A monopod for my camera, which my arms are sometimes too weak to hold steady. Doubles as a walking stick.

    My handicap sticker, fer sher.

    My long-leg brace.

    And I never thought of the husband as an assistive device, but he certainly is. Another example, I suppose, of cis-straight privilege.

  67. Cam

    Comfy wireless headphones indoors;
    Earbud headphones outdoors;
    Autism alert card;
    Obscene alarm clock;
    Thunderbird calendar/to do add-on;
    Money Manager Ex;
    Half a bottle of hand sanitizer gel (for watching the bubbles);
    *whispers* and a Flowbee.

  68. Lucy

    1) My tablet PC to let me handwrite class notes
    2) Software to read my course texts to me
    3) My iPod to help me focus

    Hmm, can’t think of more right now. That’s a good start.
    .-= Lucy´s last blog ..Wider Boycott for Feministing – Disability Failures =-.

  69. notemily

    I’ve loved reading everyone’s lists. Here’s mine:

    - Peppermint tea – my one guaranteed IBS-attack soother.
    - Luna Bars – for IBS, because they’re one of the only snacks I like that’s easy on my stomach, and also for low blood sugar during the day, because I get woozy and faint very easily if I don’t eat.
    - Hot water bottle – for IBS pains, but also works for menstrual cramps, which are probably the most visibly/physically disabling thing I go through. So you can count my birth control as an assistive device too, because without it I’d be unable to work three days a month.
    - HappyLite – for SAD.
    - Pill organizer with days of the week.
    - Cell phone with alarms to remind me when to take pills.
    - Google Calendar to keep track of work, doctor’s appointments, chores, etc.
    - Ginger pills, for IBS and for anxiety/emetophobia, because for me, anxiety brings nausea and vice versa. Which sucks, because I’m phobic about vomiting. Ginger is the best nausea remedy and digestion aid I’ve found.
    - A bottle of water to take my pills. Some of them are so big they need to be knocked back, and a glass just doesn’t cut it. Also, some of the pills I take dehydrate me, so I need water throughout the day, preferably within arm’s reach.
    - A big bag. I have bottles of medicine and my pill organizer, plus my water bottle, plus a few spare Luna bars. No small purse for me.
    - Emergency medications: Xanax – for anxiety emergencies ONLY; I spent eighteen months of my life dependent on that shit and I’m not going back. Loperamide for when my IBS gets so bad I’m having constant diarrhea.
    - Daily meds of course. Laptop with internet is also a given. (I was going to say “computer with internet” but the laptop makes things so much easier.)
    - Glasses.
    - My mindfulness training. Not a device so much as a technique, but it helps me at least as much as everything else on this list. Also, I can never accidentally leave it at home.

    And then there are little things that make me more comfortable interacting with the world. Like a hoodie, which is like a portable blanket and psychological shield in one. Or my clothing style in general, which isn’t exactly masculine, but sort of male-fashion-inspired. I tend to dress in jeans, hoodies, jackets, sneakers, loose-fitting clothes, and lots of layers between me and the world. Especially when I’m nervous or uncomfortable or particularly anxious that day. And my glasses aren’t just to see; they’re another layer of protection between me and the world. Guys used to tell me I was prettier without my glasses, which just made me more determined to wear them, to help keep strange men from trying to hit on me. My clothes and glasses are my armor.

    I do like feminine clothes as well, but I only really feel comfortable in them if it’s a special occasion where everyone is dressed up, or if I’m relaxed and around people I know well. Otherwise, they make me feel vulnerable. I’m sure there’s a lot of interesting analysis in there, but this comment is long enough as it is.

  70. notemily

    @abbyjean, I too have played Tetris until I could see falling blocks when I closed my eyes! Same with Solitaire and seeing little cards. It’s funny, I never thought of that as an anxiety-relieving thing, but it totally is.

  71. Norah

    I totally forgot my autism alert card in the list too.
    Now I’m sort of ticked off about why I could forget it: I got it when I was already past the times when I’d actually get out of my house (and to places that aren’t my parents’ or the local grocery store) often enough to ever have had reason to use it.
    Mind, I’m not upset that the situation has never been bad enough that I needed to show an autism card, I’m upset that that is most likely because I never (only a mild overstatement) go anywhere, or it’s with my partner, parents, or both.

  72. Nickie

    Okay, I thought of several more, just by reading comments left here:

    Journal: If I don’t journal, I find I don’t have an outlet.
    Friends: I’m trying to get better about reaching out for support.
    Heated shoulder wrap which is great for calming anxiety.
    Relaxation exercises and music.
    Lavender Essential Oil: Great for anxiety, some pain and nausea.
    Fizzy drinks: Sometimes those help with nausea.
    Twitter: A good way to track my mood, pain etc.
    Soft clothing: With my Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, it’s impossible to have too soft of fabric.
    A small soft blanket for my legs.
    Braille
    Diabetic socks and special, large shoes to accommodate the swelling.
    While I was hospitalized, I found sound machines extremely helpful, I just need to get on Amazon and order one.

  73. Jessie

    –cam walker (that splinty boot thing with the velcro straps)
    –iPod, which is lost and I’ve been unhinged without it–it filters out background noise and either energizes or calms me depending on the music
    –camera (gives me focus outside and at big events, pun intended)
    –computer with internet connection (lets me talk to people over the internet where I don’t need to hear them and can go back and look at their words)
    –glasses
    –Google Calendar
    –physical planner

  74. Tera

    Ooh! Assistive devices!

    I have trouble remembering all the steps to do certain things (like laundry, or how to work the garbage disposal), so I have note cards with the steps written out taped up by the washer and dryer, or the sink in the kitchen.

    I used to have a bar for getting out of the shower, and would like another one. (The kind I had doesn’t fit on the bathtub I have now).

    My Amazon Kindle. I don’t have to physically store books anywhere, and I can make the font the size I want.

    I’d love a handheld GPS of some kind that gave verbal turn-by-turn directions, but don’t have one yet.

    I just recently found out that putting a heating pad on my stomach helps with anxiety.

    I’d like to learn to cook, and my aunts have been teaching me this past week. They bought me a ton of assistive devices, including a cooking basics book for beginners (with lots of photographs!), and something to finely chop vegetables with. (I’m not fully aware of where my left hand is, and my aunt stepped in when I was chopping carrots with a knife because she was afraid I’d cut my finger).

    That’s all I can think of for now.
    .-= Tera´s last blog ..Transcript: AWA interview with Ari Ne’eman and Paula Durbin-Westby of ASAN =-.

  75. K

    Uhh

    Do dilators (basically a set of dildoes) count as assistive devices?
    I can’t have insertive sex without them. I have a prescription for them!

  76. PharaohKatt

    I wasn’t going to list mine, because I thought they were silly, but after reading the replies…I feel less alone.

    - My hairbrush. When ever I feel the start of an anxiety attack, if I can get to my hairbrush I can keep it at bay. Brushing my hair is distracting and repetitive.
    - LM (my partner), and everything that reminds me He loves me
    - The necklace He gave me.
    - Atari. Petting her is soothing, and she shows affection in a tangible way (purring). Also, it’s helpful to know that someone relies on me fully.
    - Orchestral music with loud swells. (Phantom of the Opera, Holst: Jupiter). Takes me to another place.
    .-= PharaohKatt´s last blog ..Positive Experiences with Disability Activism =-.

  77. Vickie

    - Computer + Internet: allows me to get answers to many questions and fulfil my social needs that I usually can’t get because of my introversion and/or mild social anxiety.
    - Smartphone: people don’t make small talks with people busy on their smartphones.
    - My spongy pillow: comfort object.
    - Glasses and contacts: I find them both uncomfortable to wear for long, though…

    And probably more.

  78. rainbow

    computer, without which i would be cut off from pretty much everyone but my partner all the time (use it for email as i can’t use the phone, for watching videos/movies as i can’t watch anything “live”, for music, for mailing lists and support groups, etc
    cane
    wheelchair
    heated mattress pad
    footrest and comfy chair
    grabby things (so i can reach things)
    meds/supps
    air filter that functions as white noise
    manual scooter for the garden
    winterbright biolightsystem
    respirator
    earplugs
    notepads and fountain pens (i’d be lost without writing cosntant notes to myself,a nd fountain pens don’t hurt my hands to use)
    “calm child” inhaler
    kitchenaid food processor adn stick blender
    online books
    and my partner, who helps me with so much every day.

  79. Morganna

    All kinds of goodies to help with my physical and mental and emotional disabilities/imparments… Please pardon my spelling I’m dyslexic as hell.
    After reading these lists I’m thinking about picking up a few new things-mainly fiddly with things so I’ll stop picking my skin off/ chewing on myself, like teething rings, which MAKE PERFECT SENSE and I cannot figure out why I didn’t think of that, especially as my sisters three so she had a bunch. It also makes me feel better that so many other people need lots of stuff to function as well. I feel like a pain whenever I have to go somewhere overnight because I have to pack so much stuff, and then it takes over the bathroom wherever I am.
    Anyway, I need to stop talking and write the list, so here it is:
    -cane
    -knee brace
    -tylenol 8 hour b/c my doctors don’t know what’s wrong with my knee so they won’t perscribe anything but naproxin horse pills (which don’t help)
    -hot baths
    -handrails in staircases so I can hop/pull myself up stairs
    -tiger balm
    -ace bandages (so many freaking bandages…)
    -’rocking” style shoes so I can walk and stand for long periods of time
    -wrist brace
    -bifocals
    -ipod
    -my hoodie (it’s like comfy armor)
    -anti-depressants
    -cell phone (so i can call the boyfriend when I’m having an anxiety attack/depressive episode, so I can call a cab when I cannot walk any further, so I can wake up in the morning)
    -my knife. Nothing makes a girl feel safer when walking home after work amoungst lots of drunk people like an eight inch santoku in her bag. (I’m a line cook, not a serial killer, I promise, and I have to walk home through the bar crowds all the time…which would set off my PTSD and claustriphobia if I didn’t have the reassurace that I could fight my way out of a potential rape attempt or mugging with my global santoku if I had too)
    -this microwavable mud heating pad thing with a velcro strap that I can strap to myself and walk around in
    -laptop-I can write essays in bed when I have to cucoon myself in bed becasue the rest of the world, and my house, and my room , is too scary.
    -my polar fleece sheets and huge comforter (soft, fuzzy insta-cave so I can hide, and be warm enough)
    -inhaler
    -pill box
    -padded strap backpack
    - extra-thick on the bottom warm socks
    -thearapist
    -vapo-rub (it smells nice and it helps me breath at night)
    I’m going to stop writing before I think of more things now ; )


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