Popular Mainstream Products Created with Disability in Mind

There are so many items we use or see everyday that have its roots in disability accessibility.  Some are more obvious than others, while there are some that most people don’t realize what the original intent was for.  When these items make it into the mainstream, it allows for cheaper pricing and easier access for those who need them. Even if the original intent for these items gets lost, it’s great that those who need these items now have easy access.  The internet has helped immensely, with social media allowing these products to go viral. Today we will discuss five common items you might not realize were originally designed for people with disabilities.


Snuggies were a big “joke gift” at the holidays several years ago, and you’ll still see them in shops sometimes.  They come in all kinds of colors and patterns, from plain blue to camo to the logo of your favorite football team.  But did you know these blankets with arms were designed with disability in mind? It’s true! Think about it: snuggies are warm and easy to put on.  For someone who uses a wheelchair and has limited movement, this is a great jacket alternative!  

Pencil Grips

Remember in grade school, those rubbery things you’d put on your pencil to make them softer to hold?  What if I told you that those pencil grips were originally designed for people who have difficulty holding a pencil?  It’s true! These grips come in all different shapes and sizes, which can be used with all different levels of motor function.  These grips also come in fun colors, which can make it easier to get children using them. It can be hard to get kids to use things that are different than what their peers use.  The fact that these grips are so mainstream is fantastic, because kids don’t feel like they stick out when using them.

Fidget Spinners

Here in America, fidget spinners got extremely popular in 2017, which was both a good and bad thing.  First, the original use of a fidget spinner is for those with ADHD, anxiety, or other similar disability to help them focus.  They were fantastic tools to keep people engaged in class, meetings, or whatever they may be doing. With them becoming a trend, the original use seemed to be forgotten.  Fidget spinners, as well as lots of other fidget toys, were getting banned from schools. Kids who genuinely needed and benefited from them could no longer use them. While it’s great that these devices became more widely available and acceptable, it’s important to remember that there are people who need them.

Weighted Blankets

Who doesn’t love a nice warm, heavy blanket to snuggle under on a cold night?  Weighted blankets have recently become a new fad, and are showing up in shops more and more.  But did you know weighted blankets were originally designed to help people with disabilities? These blankets have a number of benefits for different medical conditions and disabilities, including:

  • Helps combat stress and anxiety
  • Alleviates restless-leg syndrome
  • Aids in Sensory Processing disorder
  • Helps people with ADHD focus

These used to be extremely expensive and hard to get, but the fact that someone can now get one at their local Target is amazing.  

Robo Twist Jar Opener

This item was advertised to the elderly, but it is also a great device for anyone with limited strength.  If this device weren’t mainstream, and only advertised to people with disabilities, it would easily be sold for $100 or more.  But because there’s now a wider market, the price is able to be lowered to $20 on Amazon.

All of these products were made with disability in mind.  Their popularization has made it easier for those who need them to get them.  This breaks down barriers of price, knowledge of the product, or public perception.  Sometimes products can get too mainstream, like fidget spinners, but keeping disability in mind can help those who truly need these products keep them.

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