This is an original Youtube video which can be found here. These products are not sponsored or in review, they are simply a list that may be helpful for someone else. Please keep in mind that the links to products are mere examples to show and give information about the items, and there may be better places to purchase such items.
  1. Micellar water: This requires no sink or water, and all you need is a cotton pad/cleaning cloth to remove makeup and/or oil and dirt from your face. I use this 3-4 times a week and advise to wash your face with a cleanser in between days (I use the Cera Ve foaming cleaner). The video on the 21 face cleansers I’ve tried, can be found here.
  2. Cotton squares/circles: These are basic cotton pads that can be found almost anywhere. I use them to clean my face with some water and cleanser, or to take off face masks. Any cleansing needs without the hassle of a sink.
    • Swisspers Cleaning Pads squares
    • oval circle thingies
  3. Face makeup wipes: I use these when I need to take my makeup off and am too tired to wash my face. Then I follow up with some micellar water on a cotton pad.
    • Ponds make-up remover wipes examples can be found here.
  4. Body wipes: If you aren’t able to shower and need something that can keep you clean, there are a bunch of body shower wipes out there on the market. I have only tried this venture twice, so can’t speak on the best wipes, but this can be a start.
  5. Shower exfoliating wash glove: This is super helpful when washing in the shower/bath as you don’t have to worry about dropping anything, and/or if someone is assisting with the cleansing, they are able to provide a great exfoliating scrub.
  6. Diapers/pull-up briefs: These are life savers for traveling. They can also be great options for everyday and night concerns, there are also diaper underwear for the pool/water, and cover sheets for the bed, among other items that may be helpful, found at Northshore, for example. I did my first review video on the Abri-Flex diapers, which can be found here.
    • Abri flex by Northshore: These are great for moderate liquid and are actually briefs/pull-up diaper underwear. I suggest getting a free sample first, which Northshore is amazing at doing, just email them with the item and your size.
  7. Black toilet seat (via the Youtube video): I prefer a high toilet seat and this adds a 2.5 inch height extra with a very wide toilet seat that is great for balance. Find the cheapest items on Amazon.
    • Big John Products: I’ve had mine for 5 years now and still looks very new and durable; very thick plastic.
  8. Shower shampoo cap: If you need a fast hair wash and don’t have the time to take a shower/bath, try a shower shampoo cap. Not meant for very long, thick hair, which I have, so I’m curious to see how these will work for me. I have yet to try it and will review and compare it to using the shampoo washing basin option below. For all future videos please subscribe at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-vXMSLAA4_N5Gt–b1L8Vw
  9. Shampoo washing basin (cure SMA care package gift): This is also an item I have yet to try, but I think it’s such a cool and portable idea, especially that it’s inflatable. You can take it to camping and such. They also have other products such as a hair washing tray to let the water drip into a sink.
  10. Circular towel: This is a full, large circle towel with a diameter of five feet. These are great because instead of getting one towel for my seat and a second towel for me, I can just have one circle towel under me (if I go swimming), but then can keep warm with the extra fabric. And it’s heavy enough to be a blanket over me, in which I can tuck some towel under my knees and still feel free.
    • I got mine at shopstrands.com (they have them on sale until December 31, 2018), then they close shop. But there are a lot on options online.
  11. Wool rug fleece (cure SMA care package gift): This helps you keep warm (I use it under my bed, but you can use it on a couch or car seat), helps with pressure sores, is soft enough but doesn’t make me sink into my bed, and helps keep away some moisture.
  12. Memory foam-like pillow (cure SMA care package gift): I can’t do soft, fluffy, big pillows, as I get stuck and then can’t move, so this thick, moldable pillow is great. It is also pretty heavy, so won’t move around if I toss and turn.
  13. Hair ties: I keep a bunch on my joystick and if I need to do my hair or close a package, it’s super convenient; I use thin ones to hold things together and the thicker ones for my hair. They are better and more reliable than rubber bands.
  14. Manicure scissors: These are small and easy to use to open packages and cut through things, versus regular, large scissors.
  15. Carabiners: These are durable and can be found almost anywhere, especially camping stores. They come in different shapes and metal compact, so pick ones that you need, considering what their duties will be.
  16. Bike lights: These are so much fun when they light up at night. They give a huge glow and enough to be able to see the sidewalk in front of you for about 6 inches, so keep your eyes open. The only down side is that they aren’t direct light to see for any dips in front of you, but are waterproof (I’ve assumed). But, their battery compact is bulky and hard to open and close, I had to tie it up with tough string because it wouldn’t close back up. Then, I hang the battery/control button in a little bag I cling onto a carabiner on my chair.
    1. Wheelbrightz have different color options. They are waterproof bike lights, and one is enough for me at about 7 feet long.
  17. Metal on chair loops: These are meant for strap-downs to hold the chair down in a moving vehicle, but when not is use, I like to use them to be holders for scissors or brushes. They’re like my personal wheelchair pockets.
  18. Socks/sewn things on footrest: This is a personal choice because I like something soft on my footrest, water absorbent, and washable.
    • Hand-made things I made, but have used thick socks on each footrest, however, they tear easily because I bump into everything, so you want soft and durable material.
  19. Cushion cover & plastic: I made this out of cotton so that I can easily slide on the seat, but it’s also comfortable. Then between the cotton cover and my chair seat, I place a Target bag plastic so that if I leak and get the cotton cover dirty, it won’t leak into my chair seat cover and then cushion.
    • Hand-made, but I’m sure there are options out there.
  20. Superglue: I this use when I notice my armrests start to crack and at the first sign, I’ll put some glue over the area, and let it dry. I haven’t found the perfect glue yet, as they don’t hold too well and my armrest keeps cracking.
  21. Nail polish: This goes along with the superglue for the cracking armrest, so after the glue dries, I use nail polish to make the armrest presentable. You can use black nail polish to cover up anything else on your chair (if it’s black that is, or pick a different color).
  22. Long wooden yard stick: This is my favorite thing because it helps me reach things, push things closed, and readjust high to reach items.
  23. Back scratcher (cure SMA care package gift): I don’t know why, but this is simply so very fun! I love to use it to pull things to me and grab things from high places. It’s not as long as the yard stick, but is still light and small enough for not-too-far-away-things. The best part is that is folds up into a fork-like-size and can be easily stored.
    • Telescopic back scratcher at 20 inches, and can be found online anywhere.
  24. Wall hooks in a row: This is one of those things that is hard to explain. It’s like something that has a metal stick and then hooks on it like a rake. These can be mounted to anywhere and you can have it at your desired height to hang a hat or scarf on.
  25. Individual hanger hooks for wall: These are so helpful if you want to hang something at your level in random places, for example, these ones.
  26. Conference name holder badges: Sometimes these are a one-time use, and other times, these are awesome for everyday uses because they can hold a pen, your phone, notes, and wallet–all while around your neck and easy to reach placement.
  27. Phone grip for tablet or phone (or other things you need help gripping/holding): I love this little thing and the glue power on it is super awesome. The elastic band wears and tears after a few years, but still works. I’ve had mine for over two years and still love it.
    • I got mine as a promo swag thing, but you can get them at LoveHandle Phone Grip.
  28. Remote control outlets (cure SMA care package gift): Anything remote control is fun and this is super fun. They are a bit bulky and are only one outlet her thing, but they come in packs of two, three, four, five or six (I think). You can control them with a remote control or each one has a manual switch on the outlet and a light switches on when they’re on.
  29. Remote control for light/fan: This was done for me years ago and I have no idea how and by whom, but it’s always helpful to be able to turn the fan off while in bed or dim the lights from my wheelchair.
  30. Tablet/phone flexible holder (cure SMA care package gift): This is a flexible (although hard to rearrange/reshape the plastic), to position your phone or tablet to a certain location (or anything you can fit into the rectangle space). It comes in white and has an adjustable phone/tablet holder that expands and shrinks (but no smaller than a regular smart phone and no bigger than a mini iPad). The mount is great and easily adjustable to desired surfaces.
About Cure SMA: support for those effected by spinal muscular dystrophy, and a great non-profit that send me some of these items in the SMA adult care package.
This is not a sponsored article, just things I thought of that I’ve used/things I find helpful, as someone in a wheelchair, that I thought might be helpful for others. I am not affiliated or have been asked to review these services.
Thanks for stopping by! Hope you find something helpful 🙂 If you have any items that you find helpful, feel free to leave a comment.
Since this is a press dedicated to focusing on inclusion of various abilities, it is important to look at books already out in the market. For this review, I examine eight books with a character in a wheelchair. Some of this feedback is based on my own personal experience as someone in a wheelchair, and the other is focused on the story and publishing aspects of these books.

A Very Special Critter (Look-Look) by Mercer Mayer (1993) 4/5 stars.

A Very Special Critter book coverAside from the title really bothering me and not having anything to do with the story, I liked it. But in the beginning, dad gives advice, which wasn’t the best solution. It would have been better if the main character, who said he’d never met anyone in a wheelchair before, came to the conclusion himself that the new critter wasn’t any different than him. Instead, the dad says on page 5: “’Just because he’s in a wheelchair, doesn’t mean he’s any different than the rest of you. He probably just needs some special help once in awhile.’ I thought that made sense.” Other than that, I liked the perspective angle of another student interacting with the character in the wheelchair, even though he’s the main story, he’s not the main character. I think this shift in storytelling from an able-bodied kid works and it really felt like a kid was experiencing first time interacting with someone in a wheelchair.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1342103.A_Very_Special_Critter.

Arnie and the New Kid (Arnie) by Nancy Carlson (1992) 2/5 stars.

Arnie and the New Kid book coverThe feel of this story felt boring and sad. Really, it was more about the ability status and not the relationship/friendship aspect, and read like a lesson rather than a story for kids. The thing that bothered me the most was that someone can only be friends/understand someone in a wheelchair, only if you experience the same issues as the person in a wheelchair, and only include them after they know what it’s like being in a wheelchair. I prefer A Very Special Critter by Mayer over this one any day. This was so 90’s attitude of showing the interactions/world perspective of inclusion.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1949988.Arnie_and_the_New_Kid.

Mama Zooms by Jane Cowen-Fletcher (1995) 5/5 stars.

Mama Zooms book coverThis was so fun and sweet and exciting to read. It was filled with fun stories that made me smile and inspire me to play with a kid. And the ending/overall message was super adorable! I’d probably get this for my kid when the time comes and then we’d create our own Mama zooms story. This is a cute family bonding time of a book.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/78999.Mama_Zooms.

Dad Has a Wheelchair by Ken Jasch (2014) 5/5 stars.

Dad has a Wheelchair book coverTold from a kid perspective and has an educational aspect to it, since it is ASL themed, but in a sweet way from the daughter’s eyes. It goes on to share all the things she does with her dad with rhymes that are cute. Definitely a family creation. I do like the disability aspect and not pushing it away but rather having the kid talk about it in her own way and how she loves the dad bond more than anything. This was just a sweet aspect of goodness.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23136207-dad-has-a-wheelchair.

Zoom! By Robert Munsch (2004) 3/5 stars.

Zoom! book coverThis was a bit too passive for me and the mom seemed to do all of the action and leading the story forward, it would have been so much funner if the main character did all the action like, sorta  in Goldilocks. For example, on page 10: Then Lauretta’s mother said, “Well, how about this? Look at this! A nice new 15-speed wheelchair. It’s fantastic. It’s purple, green, yellow. It costs lots and lots of money.” Even though the text was super weak, the illustrations are the best and made the book hilarious. I liked the concept because it is pretty relatable. The brother bothered me and just thrown in there for something to happen. The ending was not that satisfying and not fully developed; the main character should have led the story.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/285749.Zoom_.

A Rainbow Of Friends by P.K. Hallinan (2005) 4/5 stars.

A Rainbow of Friends book coverI really enjoyed this book and it had a fun rhyme book feel to it with a sweet story element to it with great inclusion aspects and diversity in friends that didn’t feel forced. My favorite part was the theme of friendship and illustrations that showed a great lesson of being a friend to anyone.

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21044.A_Rainbow_Of_Friends.

Don’t Call Me Special: A First Look at Disability by Pat Thomas (2002) 2/5 stars.

Don't Call Me Special book coverThe idea behind this is great, but the execution was too adult-driven. Definitely not a story; more like an educated blog post in a book. For example: “When you assume, you are just making a guess. Assuming things about people can hurt their feelings and make them feel very left out.” I really don’t see a kid wanting to pick this book up and interact with it. It’s great the book talks about being different and unique in your own way & explaining how to think/understand things. Like in this example: “Years ago, children with disabilities went to special schools with special teachers. Because of this people started calling them special.” But this feels like an adult jumping around talking about different things without a linear theme that connects all the pages together. A Rainbow of Friends by Hallinan has the same idea and is more exciting & fun to read.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/932980.Don_t_Call_Me_Special.

Look Up! by Jung Jin-Ho, Kim My Hyun (Translator) (2016) 3/5 stars.

Look Up! book coverThis was an interesting concept, but it sort of felt flat to me when it could have been a really powerful book with a stronger ending, but still, glad it’s out there and plays with different perspectives. Also, the journey of showing and not showing the main character and even her wheelchair was problematic to me and didn’t make this story memorable at all. But I liked the high and low illustrations to show interactions of the world with the main character.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28869881-look-up.

If you want to check out the review videos on Youtube, here are the links: INCLUDAS Review #1 | Picture Books with Characters in Wheelchairs #bookreview and INCLUDAS Review #2 | Picture Books with Characters in Wheelchairs.
You can view all reviews on this Goodreads page. Let me know your thoughts and other book suggestions! If you’d like to review one of INCLUDAS’s books, email marketing [at] includas.com and we’ll send you a free copy!
The struggle is real. I spent hours, weeks, months trying to find a way to make my tester book, What If I Fall kid’s book, digitally accessible. What does that mean exactly? (this is for all you self-publishers out there, or authors who want to make sure their publisher is on the accessible road ahead) Read on the mistakes I made, the lessons I learned, and what I wished I would have known.
  • text should be read separately and not embedded into the image.
    • I did this so wrong and it was terrible. I thought I was being creative by making text be upside down, sideways, and patterned. This, in turn, made all of my text embedded into the images (meaning that a reader or any other device is able to read it). Text and image should be separate layers (like in Amazon or iBooks, place the text after you’ve placed the image into the layout; or in Photoshop or Illustrator, have the text on top of the image, if preparing for print).
  • alt-text for images lets you give a brief description of what the image is about.
    • This was harder then I thought, there is a particular language to writing alt-text descriptions (and not software, like Amazon, have that option), so make sure you know what those are, as they are specific and should not be too long. (aside from ebooks, my entire page on this website disappeared because I made my alt-text too long one time) Also, speaking of images in websites, alt-text is different than attribution, which is the little text that pops on when a mouse is on an idea (e.g. at the top menu of this site, if you put the mouse over the HOME or BOOKS tag, the title attribution will show as, ‘home page,’ or ‘books page’). Here’s a video for InDesign on how to do make ebooks visually accessible (then exported into an ePUB).
  • audio and sound capabilities.
    • I’m all for multiple ways of learning, so I knew I wanted to have something outside of just words and images. Only iTunes came through and it was hard until it became easy. Side note on anything when a software reads text, always add periods, otherwise, the words just run together. For example, each of the sections in this blog post, like ‘audio and sound capabilities,’ has a period at the end, but you can’t see it since I changed the font color to white.
  • color scheme.
    • Now, this was something that I hadn’t thought of at the time of publishing, What If I Fall, but I recently realized that picking a color scheme can either be great or harmful for those who are colorblind. For example, on the backside of the book, the background is green and the mushroom is red. So for a red-green colorblind person, those colors will blend into one and the person would not be able to see the red mushroom. Luckily, I had outlined the mushroom in black, so the mushroom will appear, but not in a read color.
  • large and friendly text.
    • Fortunately, most kid’s books have minimal text, so making a text big and spacious is great! This was a no-brainer. Moving on to the friendly text, which I didn’t do for this book, but will for a different book, is using a font that is dyslexic friendly. Normally what that means, is the bottom of a letter is a lot heavier than the top of the letter, in a way anchoring the letters so they don’t move around town. This also includes spacing the distance between words in conjunction to each other.
  •  misc.
    • These don’t exactly have much to do with ebooks, but I wanted to point out the importance the ease of navigation for a user, maybe from page to page or where you place your audio listening buttons, and the such.
Now, you might be wondering, why didn’t I just use Adobe Illustrator, which has a feature and capability to create interactive ePubs? It’s an expensive monthly subscription and since it was only one book, it wasn’t worth it. AND, I wanted to test out the Amazon and iTunes platforms (as well as Smashwords and Draft2Digital), to understand my options.

Here’s a video of me documenting my experience:.

On ePub3 Interactive.

If you have no idea what ePUB 3 or ePUB Interactive means, let me give you a summary. Software used to create ePUBs 3 allows ebooks to be interactive (some people call it an interactive ePUB), but most of it can be done in Adobe InDesign and then converted into the ePUB formatting for ebooks to be distributed in iBooks, Amazon, etc. Also, one of the leaders in accessible ebook management is DAISY, and they offer to test ePUBs in their ACE program for free for accessibility features, here’s a link a little bit more about this crazy process: http://www.daisy.org/daisypedia/using-adobe-indesign-create-accessible-epub-3-files (some of these are outdated, so just make sure you’re reading the most up to date info). For all ePUB InDesign tutorials and stuff, definitely start out with this video (2011) by Anne-Marie Concepción.

Accessible Ebook Formatting on Amazon.

This was the most unpleasant experience in using the Kid Creator software on Amazon for creating kid’s ebooks for Kindle. First, you have to create an account on their KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) site and then install the Kid Creator software on your computer. Then, you upload an entire file as one PDF (I did this; the file I used for my print PDF file, which was a huge no-no because the formatting is just off), or you can upload separate pages–I recommend (this way you can have the best page sizes). Even though Amazon is pretty flexible on what size you upload, keep it in the range of what a normal ebook would be formatted as. There was no alt-text options for text or audio integration, but there was a Pop-Up Text option, so when someone clicked onto an image or word, a pop up of your new text would come up. I explored this option as an alternative of alt-text, but then decided to switch into the HTML page and put the alt-text coding in that way–I have no idea if that worked. Also, there is something Amazon has that allows for “Text-to-Speech,” but I have no clue how that words, so I guess Amazon automatically chose, “not enabled.” There’s a bit more, but I’ll let you check out the video above.
This choice was not a great one for creating accessible kid’s ebooks.

Accessible Ebook on iTunes.

iTunes (for iBooks), has a bit of a learning curve and requires a Mac. But, it’s got so many great features and options that I highly recommend it. Additionally, they have some great ways to create the ebook interactive with different gadgets and what not, outside of adding audio and video into the ebook. I only did the audio and video addition, but would be willing to text out their interactive options as well. They have great image description (alt-text) for pages and cover art, and a modern platform (Amazon looks a bit outdated and 90’s feeling). Remember, the text should come as a separate layer and should not be part of the page, so because I already had that, I used audio to read the text and alt-text to make up for my unawareness. I found this video to be helpful for starters.
This is the best option for creating an accessible kid’s book.

Accessible Ebook on Smashwords and Draft2Digital.

You might be wondering what about ebook distributors? I spent a few hours on Microsoft Word and Scrivener to comply with the Smashwords guidelines, but there was nothing. Best case scenario is having an image (you can’t really control how it’s positioned), and text above or below the image. No alt-text or anything else is available. Funny enough, I somehow found a magic button in Word for image description, but I was told that any accessible features in Word would be lost when converted into the ebook through a distributor, like Draft2Digital.
This is not an option at all for accessible kid’s ebooks, but if you got an ePub3, then yes, up load that file and your ebook will be everywhere!

So, is it worh it making a kid’s ebook accessible?

That depends on your goal and what audience you’d like to reach. If you’re doing it all yourself and not looking to sell or market to a bunch of people, you can opt out. But if you want to have good inclusion practices, take the time to learn how to make your product accessible to as many people as possible. It really should be second nature and once you understand the process, it’ll be easier, and you’ll offer many ways for people to enjoy the book.