Gift Ideas for the Visually Impaired

If you think shopping for that hard-to-please someone is a challenge, what do you do if the person on the gift list has little or no vision? The following short list of suggestions may help get you started.

Braille watch. It’s not necessary to read a word of Braille to use a Braille watch. The hours or the five minute designations are indicated by tiny bumps that can be “read” easily with only a couple of minutes practice.

Voice recorder. Our two favorites are the Wilson recorder, if all you want is to make simple voice notes, or the Olympus for longer and higher quality recordings of voice or music.

Currency identifier. How would you know if the bills in your wallet are $1. Or $100. If you couldn’t see them? The new currency identifier from the U.S. Treasury is portable and easy to use. Call 888-657-7323 to be put on the list to receive one. Must have proof of print disability.

George Foreman grill. Can be used out of the box without any additional labeling for someone with low or no vision.

Ove’ Glove. Widely available, the Ove’ Glove makes it possible to handle items in the oven safely up to 510 degrees. Absolutely indispensable for working in the kitchen.

Sunbeam hot beverage maker. Off-the-shelf, this can be used by anybody with a reasonable amount of caution.

Ear muffs that do not block hearing. I purchased mine about ten yrs. Ago for $4 online.

Book bags, fanny packs, etc. are especially helpful when one of your hands is taken up with a cane, guide dog, or doing “sighted guide” with a companion.

If the person on your list is a child or young adult, the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston offers some excellent and practical gift ideas  classified by babies, toddlers and younger kids, toys for parties, sensory toys, toys for older kids, and, yes, even video games.

All of this having been said, I suspect no one in recorded history has given more gifts that end up being regifted the next year than I have. I’d feel confident, however, that you wouldn’t go wrong with any of these.

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