As the holiday season comes into full swing for 2022, here’s a round up of some sources and specific gift ideas for children and adults of all ages who are blind or visually impaired:
Holiday Time for Children and Youth:
Parents and family members of children and youth who are visually impaired may appreciate some suggestions for gift-giving provided by Future In Sight through a talk given by Stephanie Hurd, Assistive Technology/Activities Specialist. She offered ideas based on her own experiences growing up blind, raising a family, and pursuing her career. For gift ideas, consider:
– You know your child best. Think about their interests. Books can be a great gift for the motivated reader, with accessible resources like Bookshare, an online library for those with print disabilities, and apps like Voice Dream Reader, and Voice Dream Scanner, as well as large-print and braille books.
– Clocks, watches, and household items like blenders, popcorn makers, and other practical gifts that are accessible by speech electronics or by contrast (with low vision devices) can encourage independence.
– Gifts can also include toys and electronics that are similar to those for all children, like rattles for babies, musical toys, crafting kits, blocks, braille jewelry or more high-tech products like a child’s tablet, a smart phone or speaker, depending on the age, skills, and interests of the recipient.
– Outdoor winter activities such as ice skating, snow shoeing, can be enjoyed by the whole family. Gifts related to activities like equipment or tickets for adaptive sports programs are other possibilities.
Check out the Future In Sight website for more Holiday Gift Ideas for Children and Youth who are Visually Impaired and click here for some age-specific gift suggestions.
Gift Recommendations for Children and Adults Who are Blind:
Perkins School for the Blind has a gift guide with ideas to “help bring your loved ones closer together, while supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs who are blind.” Peer advisors and contributors to VisionAware have also developed “an awesome list of gift suggestions” for individuals who are blind or have low vision. Some examples are:
For the technology buff:
– Feelif, a tablet with a tactile grid to orient the user to different parts of the screen, uses vibration, sound, and visual information to present a multi-sensory experience. It gives children the opportunity to play games, make drawings, and take photos.
– Dot Watch refreshable braille technology on this smart braille watch makes it possible to tell time, answer phone calls, and read messages.
– The voice command feature of the Amazon Echo can be useful to check the time, weather, and latest news as well as play games, music, and more.
For the fashion minded:
– Aille Design, founded by Alexa Jovanovic, who notes that “’Good design shouldn’t exclude anyone.” Their designs are fully legible to braille readers and “beautifully showcase the importance of inclusive representation in the fashion industry.”
– The founder of Eye Power Kids Wear, a mom whose son has a vision impairment, was determined to help him “’grow up feeling proud and excited about who he is.’”
For Arts and Crafts Enthusiasts:
– An adjustable task lamp can be helpful for crafters with low vision.
– Practical organization items like boxes, baskets, or containers can be used to store supplies.
These gift guides also feature accessible classic board and card games and sporting goods as well as options for meal prep, music, books, and more. Check out the Perkins guide to Gifts for people who are blind and the people who love them and VisionAware’s Gift Ideas for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired.