AT for Travel and Visiting

A retro prop plane flying among clouds and a blue sky.

Happy soon-to-be holidays from AT3 Center News and Tips! Some of us are hitting the road. Others are welcoming company with disabilities and/or seniors. We reached out to readers for ideas to help make this season easier with assistive technology (AT) and received a range of gadget ideas and tips. Check out these creative recommendations:

Noise-canceling headphones for the noise sensitive

“For anyone going on planes who is sensitive to noises or needs to block out other sounds to be able to hear in-flight entertainment,” Bethan Rowlands Diego (AT Access Specialist with the Vermont AT Program) recommends noise-canceling headphones. Here are a few options she found at Best Buy.

A swivel seat for easy transfers

These affordable rotating discs make transfers between car seats, plane seats or any chair at a relative’s house so much easier (thanks again Bethan!)

An Echo Dot for your visitor

It’s great if your house is already rigged with voice-activated smart home technology but if not, consider if a $50 smart speaker could make a difference for visiting family or friends. “If the person has vision problems, physical disabilities or a speech-generating device, this would be especially useful for turning lights on and off, operating the TV or maybe just finding out the weather for the day,” writes Carol Page, Director, South Carolina AT Program. (Wifi and additional hardware is required for certain functions.)

A carry-on bag for wheelchair users

Here’s an Indiegogo campaign for the Unstoppable Travel Bag brought to our attention by Karen Langly, CEO of REquipment, Inc. in Massachusetts. The bag is designed to roll smoothly in all directions and handle uneven terrain. There’s also the Motora backpack with magnetic clasps and easy-access pockets from the back of a wheelchair.

A weighted blanket for the anxious traveler

A weighted throw might calm nerves for that bumpy airplane ride. Or calm a family member with anxiety in a recliner or at bedtime. Consider what size makes sense for traveling and aim for about 10% of body weight. Here’s a source that’s more affordable than most (and made in New England).

A portable ramp from your local short-term device loan program

Help a family member using wheeled-mobility enter and exit your home. Many State AT Programs are happy to loan you a portable ramp for wheelchair access for a temporary family stay and other AT to help prepare your home. Here are more temporary AT ideas from the West Virginia AT Program (WVATS).

A shower chair/commode seat for traveling

Go! Mobility Solutions specializes in portable shower chairs that double as commode seats. “If it won’t fit in a bag, we don’t make it” boasts their website. Suction-cup grab bars are also a helpful temporary fix for added safety in most bathrooms.

An UnbuckleMe for grandparents visiting with grandchildren

The UnBuckleMe is a $15 gadget that makes unlatching a child from a car seat easy for grandparents or anyone without the thumb power required by most push-button seat buckles (check out New AT for Baby Care if you haven’t already!)

Need more ideas? Contact your State AT Program!