It started with a single phone call.
The caller was a grandmother looking for a pair of laceless shoes for her grandson, who was unable to tie his own. Unable to help, Zappos resolved to change that.
As a result, the company launched the “Zappos Adaptive” line, featuring clothing and shoes designed for people who experience difficulty dressing themselves, or, due to lack of full range of motion required for self-dressing are unable to use closures such as buttons and zippers.
The collection includes clothing items that are four-way reversible (inside-out, front or back), are sensory-friendly or without tags, buttons and zippers, as well as slip-on shoes or with easy-to-use fasteners.
Expanding Offerings for Disabilities
Disability Scoop is reporting that Zappos is only one retailer offering products to help make life easier for those with disabilities. And, as a recent article in the New Yorker points out, since the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act 25 years ago, patients have been moving from a passive role to “a disability-right orientation, in which those in need of assistive devices act as educated consumers who demand more choices.”
In fact, Target is the latest retailer to offer a line of clothing for kids with special needs, rolling out a collection of sensory-friendly apparel for children with clothing for those with disabilities on the way.
Historically, businesses have long neglected the market – but no more. Today, smart businesses are courting the market to secure brand loyalty – and the spending power the demographic commands, offering everything from flooring to flying to those with disabilities in mind.
- At FindAnyFloor.com, a selection of disability-friendly flooring offers pros and cons of different options suitable for wheelchair travel, foot and knee damage, and visual and audio impairments.
- Mobility-Advisor.com has links to resources and information on disabled friendly travel options.
- Shopping for a new parent with disabilities? The Mobility Resource has a list of items ideal for welcoming and caring for baby.
Removing Barriers in the Home
Catering to the needs of those with disabilities is also important when it comes to the home, and companies are stepping up to embrace the “universal design” concept.
- HGTV features a gallery of home updates that make life easier for anyone in the home.
- And Next Avenue argues that universal design can be both smart and stylish as well as useful for everyone. They also include a gallery of ideas and products that makes baths and kitchens easier to navigate.
- Learn more about universal design from The Center for an Accessible Society.
These represent just a small sample of what's available. As businesses continue to embrace the market - and embrace the concept of universal design - that opens the door to innovative ideas, equipment, technology and services to facilitate daily activities not just for those with disabilities, but for everyone.