How to Find iPad, Tablet, and eBook Accessories That Help the Disabled

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How to Find iPad, Tablet, and eBook Accessories That Help the Disabled

Every person has their own individual needs and requirements, but those with special needs tend to have more than the majority of the population. There are some disabilities that have no effect whatsoever on the ability of a person to use an iPad, tablet or ebook reader, as they are all relatively light devices that are easily held with one hand by most adults. Unfortunately, this is not the case for all disabilities, as there are some which do limit the ability of a person to use even the smallest and lightest devices. Fortunately for these prospective users, there are a number of accessories which can provide assistance so that they too can reap the benefits of owning a tablet, iPad, or electronic reading device. All the buyer has to do is balance the needs of the intended user with their physical limitations and the design of the portable device in question.

Understanding the Intended User's Physical Limitations

The first step in finding the right accessories for a disabled user to enjoy the full benefits of iPad, tablet or ereader ownership is to accurately assess their individual limitations. While disabilities may have commonalities, it is very rare for two individuals to have exactly the same kind and degree of physical impairment. Without knowing what the person can and cannot do, it is almost impossible to determine whether a particular accessory is suitable for their needs or not. While it is impossible to describe all of the possible limitations a disability can give a person, there are three main areas of concern for iPad, tablet and ereader users.

Strength Limitations

Many physical disabilities severely limit a person's strength, so that something that can be easily done with one hand by a healthy person may require both hands for someone with a disability. For these people, even holding something as light as an ebook reader may be a struggle for a short period, and impossible for any length of time.

Motor Control Limitations

Even when a person has the physical strength to hold a portable device, sometimes they lack the motor control to accurately control it. iPads and tablets rely on touch screen interfaces, as do many ebook readers, and they can be extremely difficult to use for someone who is not able to accurately control their extremities.

Vision Limitations

Many disabled people have various vision limitations, making reading or even seeing a screen more difficult for them. While vision issues are common enough in society that many people need some kind of visual correction, there are a large number of disabled people who need more visual assistance than most corrective lenses can provide.

Combined Limitations

It is also very important for prospective purchasers to remember that these limitations rarely appear on their own. It is very rare for someone to have poor strength, but perfect motor control and vision. In fact the exact opposite is more common. A person with motor control issues can often also have issues with muscular strength and likely vision as well. That means that whatever solution a buyer is considering, they cannot rely on the user being able to offset one limitation with a strength in another area.

Types of iPad, Tablet, and eBook Accessories to Help the Disabled

Once the buyer knows what kind of limitations the user has, they can then start looking for the appropriate accessories to minimise these limitations and let them take the greatest advantage of their portable device.

Strength Accessories

One of the most common accessory types for a person with disabilities is a stand. This lets them use the tablet or other portable device without the need to support it with their own strength. Another accessory that can be helpful for a person with limited strength can be a protective case . While it does add to the weight of the device, a person with limited strength is more likely to drop their iPad, tablet, or ebook reader, making some form of protection important.

Motor Control Accessories

People with motor control difficulties can have several kinds of problems with portable devices. They can have difficulty controlling the device, and even though they may have the strength required to hold it, they may find themselves losing control and dropping a device. This means that they may often require several different accessories for their iPad, tablet, or ebook reader in order to cover all these eventualities. One of the simplest is a stylus, which can give them a greater degree of precision when it comes to manipulating the touchscreen. Other accessories which can be useful, include a stand and a protective case. The stand takes the difficulty of holding it still away from the user, and the protective case is of benefit to all users, not just those with disabilities.

Vision Accessories

Users can compensate for some degree of vision limitations by the simple process of adjusting the internal settings on the device such as the font size and colour settings, but for people with significant vision limitations this may not be enough. These people can often benefit from magnifiers and lights, and in some cases magnifiers that are lit to ensure there is both enough light and sufficient contrast for them to make things out.

Balancing Accessories and User Limitations

One of the trickiest aspects of finding the right iPad, tablet, or ebook reader accessories for a disabled user is balancing their various needs and limitations. The basic challenge here is that multiple constraints are more than simply additive, they have a multiplicative effect as they combine to create new constraints, hence buyers need to be aware of how everything works together so they can be sure the effects of one accessory do not completely overshadow the benefits of another.

The following table lists some of the basic accessories and how they can be of benefit to people with disabilities:

Physical Limitation

Relevant Accessories


Stand, Case

Motor Control

Stand, Stylus, Case


Magnifier, Light

In the vast majority of situations these accessories can work well together. The only potential issue is that while a protective case is a good idea even for those users who possess limited physical strength, the added weight of this accessory can be difficult for these users.

Important Note About iPad, Tablet, and eBook Accessories

One thing that buyers should be aware of is that many of the accessories that are of particular benefit to users with disabilities can also be beneficial to other users as well. Anyone can benefit from a protective case, and many users find any device tiring to hold beyond a certain length of time. The issue for many disabled users is not only that in some cases they have to deal with issues others may not have to deal with, but also that even when they have to deal with the same issues, it is often to a greater degree. Even so, the similarity of the issues faced mean that many of the accessories required by users with disabilities are readily available because they are the same accessories that are used by everyone else. The key lies in seeing how they can be used by people with disabilities.

Buying iPad, Tablet, and eBook Accessories for People With Disabilities From eBay

One of the best places to buy accessories for any portable device, regardless of the user and whether they have any special needs is eBay. The site offers a tremendous variety of accessory options for any particular need or price point. All you need to do is put your requirements into the search box, which you can find on every eBay page, and watch the results come up. With the right accessories on your screen, you can use the filters in the sidebar to narrow the results down to just the ones that meet your needs. eBay lets you filter your results by everything from the type of accessory to price range, and even whether the accessory is new or used. Then, after you have narrowed down your results to just the units you need, you can use the sort functionality to ensure you have the ones that best meet your requirements at the top of the list.

The final stage, after you have narrowed down the results to just the ones that meet your requirements, is to find a seller to do business with. One of the best places to evaluate sellers is their eBay profile page where you can see everything from their feedback to location. You can also see if they offer any special deals such as bundling several accessories together. Other sellers may allow you to save on shipping by letting you pick purchases up in person.


The key to finding the right iPad, tablet, and ebook reader accessories for people with disabilities is knowing how to balance both their needs and their limitations. It does not matter how much benefit a person might obtain from a particular accessory if their physical limitations are such that the use of that accessory renders the portable device unusable. People can utilise these accessories to help sidestep limitations in strength, motor control, and even vision, but they only assist people to deal with their limitations, they do not eliminate them. This is one reason why balancing the benefits of a given accessory against the user's limitations is so important, and why the first step is always an accurate assessment of those limitations. Once both needs and limitations are known and completely understood, obtaining the right accessories for any user becomes that much easier. Knowing why certain accessories cannot benefit a user makes the decision-making process that much easier.

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