When I first saw Pillow Pets on TV, I never expected that I would use them to assist with orientation and mobility in my college dorm room. Like most products that are seen on TV, they can be used or modified to help people with disabilities accomplish a variety of tasks. Today, I will be sharing how I use Pillow Pets to navigate my bedroom and improve my orientation and mobility skills.
Who can benefit from this
Here are some examples of people that can benefit from this post:
- I have low vision and frequently run into furniture, which leaves bruises on my arms and legs
- My friend has a habit of kicking their legs while they are sleeping and can break furniture. They want a way to stop kicking furniture.
- Some people might hit the bed frame or bed legs when getting up in the morning.
- Another friend has their legs stick out beyond the bed frame when they lie down.
- Two of Everything: My Life with Double Vision
- My College Bed
- Why I Love Having Friends With The Same Condition
What are Pillow Pets, anyway?
Pillow Pets are stuffed animals that are rectangular shaped, like a pillow. They also have a built-in Velcro strap that allows them to be folded width-wise and stand on their own. They come in a variety of sizes and different character types.
When can I use Pillow Pets as assistive technology?
In this context, Pillow Pets meet the definition of assistive technology, since they are being used to help someone with a disability. I’m using them as a way to create a barrier for furniture to avoid injury and to help me improve my orientation and mobility skills when navigating my dorm room with low vision.
Where to buy Pillow Pets
Pillow Pets can be purchased from a variety of stores. Prices and availability may vary, but you will need either two regular sized or four Pee-Wee sized Pillow Pets for a bed frame.
Why Pillow Pets
There are a few reasons I chose to use Pillow Pets as assistive technology for this type of project:
- Cost. Pillow Pets and similar stuffed animals are fairly inexpensive- I got a pack of four for $17 on Amazon and they are regularly on sale in stores.
- Easy to find. Pillow Pets are sold in many different stores all around the US.
- Fun for kids. They have many colorful and fun designs that kids enjoy.
- Easy to assemble. Almost anyone can manipulate the Velcro strap and attach the Pillow Pet to a firm surface.
What to do
- Map out common areas that cause an issue. For me, this is the edge of my bed and the leg of the bed frame that faces my desk.
- Measure the area to determine how many Pillow Pets are needed. Regular Pillow Pets are 18 inches long, and Pee-Wee Pillow Pets are about 10 inches long.
- Wrap the Pillow Pet around the desired area and secure the Velcro strap to secure it.
- If needed, reinforce the Velcro strap by adding glue or a clip
- Repeat until desired area is covered.
When to reattach them
Velcro does not stay secure forever, so you might find that you have to reattach the Pillow Pets to their perch every now and then. Adding the reinforcements can help, but mine only fall down every other month or so, and it isn’t very difficult for me to reattach them. Obviously, you should reattach them whenever they fall down, but it shouldn’t be too frequently.
Where to find alternatives
Understandably, not everyone wants to use Pillow Pets as assistive technology, because they do look a bit childish. It’s worth noting that no one has ever said anything negative about my setup of Pillow Pets in my dorm room. Regardless, here are some other alternatives.
- Old pillow with bungee cord wrapped around it
- Knockoff Pillow Pets with more subtle designs
- Put a pillow inside a hoodie and tie the sleeves, making sure the bottom is secured. This is great for a large scale area!
Why I have seen a difference
Using Pillow Pets as assistive technology has helped me reduce my risk of injury as someone with vision impairment, and has overall reduced the amount of bruises on my legs. Having a soft cuddly barrier is a great way to help with decreasing accidental bumps and bruises, and it’s great for kids too. I highly recommend using Pillow Pets as assistive technology for orientation and mobility.