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Your favourite disability gadgets

Emma Emma | 15:23 UK time, Thursday, 1 December 2011

An Ouch mug

We asked Ouch! Twitter followers and fans on Facebook to tell us about the gadgets which make life easier as a disabled person. And they did.

Before long the hashtag #disabilitygadgets had been created and hundreds of responses were coming in thick and fast. A few people chose to nominate their assistance dogs, husbands and other family members.

The remaining answers are as eclectic as expected: some were mainstream and some specialised, a mix of high and low-tech, they cover a range of disabilities and price brackets. Here is a summary.

In the kitchen, hot drinks dispensers, including the classic kettle tipper and carriers such as lidded thermos mugs proved popular. Much love was expressed also for the various gismos which aid the opening of tricky food packaging.

Yvonne Ivey wrote on the Ouch! Facebook page: "The best thing that I use is a plastic can and bottle opener. Its a must in the kitchen as it aids the grip in the hands".

@narco-sam Tweeted to nominate his slow cooker, explaining that he "can separate effort of preparing from eating".

Sticking with domestic chores, @batsgirl suggested that robot vacuum cleaners should surely make the list, "for those of us who spend more time doing carpet inspections than we'd choose".

Adapted cars, computers, assistive technology and the free-standing teatray were hailed as invaluable, but most often, suggestions were for gadgets to help with personal care. The list appears endless. Shower seats, hair washers, and velcrow clothes and shoes all got a look in - as did a reaching, grabbing device called the Bottom Buddy.

@biotumbleweed nominated her two essential reaching aids: "My must have #disabilitygadgets are a dressing stick and a long handled hair brush. I'd be ridiculously dependent without them."

For the uninitiated, a dressing stick is a stick with hooks on either end, used to manipulate clothing when reaching is difficult.

Whether talking about white canes, grabbers, walking sticks or crutches, the stick features highly on your list of disability gadget must-haves. And if it folds, even better.

Moving from physical impairment to sensory, eye defenders, ear defendors, talking tin lids and a daylight desk lamp also made the list. So too did the classic blind person's gadget, a liquid level indicator.

This device is placed over the top edge of a mug and emits a beep when liquid touches a sensor. It lets the blind hot drinks maker know when to stop pouring, avoiding burnt fingers.

But while most of the above is specialised, many of the gadgets chosen by Ouch! Twitter followers and Facebookers are every day products, which just happen to work for a particular person or impairment.

Jessica Thom, @touretteshero, has Tourette's syndrome. She experiences a number of physical tics and relies on low-tech, mainstream items to keep safe. "Kneepads and boxing gloves save me a load of pain. Also, big up sports caps & camping cups with lids, keeping me dry".

Is something missing from this list? Use the comments box below to tell us which gadgets make your life easier as a disabled person and why.

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