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Gift Ideas For The Blind

Jul 13, 2009

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Gift ideas for blind friends and family members range from the practical to the pleasurable.  As with any gifting opportunity, consider your sight-challenged friend’s or relative’s needs and desires when selecting the right gift for him or her.

Practical gifts for blind individuals most often involve Braille or audio replacements for the written word.

Practical gifts for blind individuals most often involve Braille or audio replacements for the written word.  If your recipient likes to compose his or her own Braille, look for slate-and-stylus tool sets.  Throw in a ream or two of 100# weight paper and your blind friend or relative has a writing gift set.  Go the extra mile and personalize the paper with their name or initials.  You will even find a money Brailler that marks paper money for easy identification of denominations.

Many printed calendars and daily planners are available in Braille versions.  These too make a nice gift pairing for a slate-and-stylus tool.

A few appliance manufacturers even offer Braille overlays for their appliance control panels.

Day-to-day living for blind individuals is made easier with a wide variety of canes, Braille keyboards, telephones and indoor Braille signs.  A few small appliance manufacturers even offer Braille overlays for their appliance control panels.

Audio accessibility is a solid and prolific source of gift ideas for the blind.  Books on CD, talking technology and PC screen reading software have improved and expanded immensely in the past few years.  Package together a scanner with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology and compatible screen reading software, and your blind friend or relative can “read” any document with little or no outside help.

Talking technology may now be found in caller ID devices, desk phones, thermometers, and calculators

Talking technology may now be found in caller ID devices, desk phones, thermometers, and calculators, not to mention pedometers, compasses, watches, alarm clocks and calculators.  Audio controls for video or online games are also readily available.  Think of an application for talking technology, and you will most likely find a device equipped with it.

More gift ideas for the blind come from tactile enhancements, where Braille lettering may be impractical.  Several brands of MP3 and CD players have large or raised markings on their controls to make it easier for the blind to operate.   Braille instructions for these accessible devices are the icing on the cake.  Be sure to include a set of red hot headphones to enhance their listening experience.

Consider tactile sensations in general when browsing the less practical gift ideas for blind friends and relatives.

Sensual Treats
Consider tactile sensations in general when browsing the less practical gift ideas for blind friends and relatives.  Think of how luxurious 600-thread count sheets, an angora sweater or Egyptian cotton towels will feel against your friend’s or relative’s skin.  Look for soft fabrics, even plush objects that your blind recipient will enjoy wearing or using.  Deep tissue massage, aromatherapy bath oils, soaps and other personal luxuries will engage their other senses, offering an overall relaxing experience. 

DIY Accessibility
Look at adapting gifts for blind friends and relatives.  With a simple Braille label maker, you can help your friend or relative label objects not produced in a visually accessible version.  For example, label spice jars for the cooking enthusiast.  Label his or her CD collection or several decks of standard playing cards.  If your blind friend or relative is into board games, mark the pieces and the board with the label maker or other tool and he or she can enjoy the game more independently.

Gifts for blind children can really focus on tactile and audio qualities, especially before the child learns to read.

Gifts for Blind Children
Gifts for blind children can really focus on tactile and audio qualities, especially before the child learns to read.  You would be surprised how many toys out there are fun and safe, regardless of the child’s sight.  Check with the American Foundation for the Blind™ for ratings on various toy manufacturers and their products for all age groups.  Many children’s books have been recorded onto CD.  Most simple games come in blind accessible versions like dice, dominoes, and card games.  Your older blind child may really appreciate a visually adapted board game, or receiving audio controls or software for their favorite PC game.  You will even find a website offering subscription-based online games adapted for the blind.

Remember Fido
When pondering gift ideas for the blind, remember to include ideas for your friend’s or relative’s service animal, if applicable.  Service animals work hard day in and day out and will benefit immensely from stress relief in the form of play, either with a tug toy or with a good game of fetch – you buy the object.  For top notch grooming and pampering, a gift certificate to a pet spa will be much appreciated by the owner as well as the animal.  Just like humans, all work and no play makes Fido a stressed out pooch.

Above all, gifts for blind friends or family members mean more to the recipient if you are sensitive to their feelings about sight limitations.  Emphasize and celebrate their accomplishments and interests when choosing any gift.

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