Accidentally Adaptive: My Cup Holder

In my Accidentally Adaptive series, I share products or services that aren’t specifically designed to be adaptive but have a particular use for me as a disabled woman.

I think today’s post might be the first real “Accidentally Adaptive” thing I started using in my own life, many many years ago! Really, the concept of accidentally adaptive came around out of necessity – there aren’t that many purposefully adaptive things now, and there were even fewer 10 or 20 years ago. So I found products that already existed to fill the hole of a need in my life – like this cup holder.

My wheelchair is one of the fancier ones – it’s electric, of course, and customized to fit my body and support me so that I’m comfortable sitting in it all day long. There are so many different options for things like armrests, backrests seat cushions – lots of possible combinations to get the right fit. But there aren’t really many after-market accessories for wheelchairs. There are more now, but they’re still limited – and often don’t work universally across wheelchair types and brands.

So when I’ve needed to find something over the years, the first thing I typically look for is actually bike or stroller accessories. At least for the basics, they have lots of options with lots of adjustability, which means I can adapt them a little bit to work with my wheelchair. A cup holder is the earliest example I can think of! It’s really hard for me to drive my wheelchair while holding a drink (especially going over cracks or bumps), and sometimes I just don’t want to have to hold it the entire time! But there are limited places where I can actually reach – I can’t exactly put something I want access to in a bag on the back of my wheelchair, because I can’t reach it! And the standard wheelchair cup holders that they sell – because there are a few – are really big and bulky. They stick out, and they break really easily when they (accidentally!) hit up against something.

But there are SO many cup holder options for bikes and wheelchairs! I tried out a few different styles over the years, and something like this is my current favorite. It has a velcro section that you’re supposed to wrap around a bike or stroller, but I actually unwrap it, leave it flat, and slide it between the frame of my wheelchair and my seat cushion. My seat cushion actually has velcro on the bottom of it to keep it in place, so this works extra well! It holds it it place, and I can slide it to the exact right place I need it so I can reach it, but it’s not in the way. Plus, it’s nice a smushy, so it fits all different sizes and kinds of drinks. I’ve been using something similar for so many years now and have no plans to stop – an easy, inexpensive, accidentally adaptive find.

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