My LGMD Work-Arounds

four women sitting with backs to camera overlooking the sea with 3 sitting on bench with chocolate coloured labrador and 1 in wheeelchair

Tips and aids to enable my Leanneability, and perhaps yours too.

It’s high time that I shared some of the physical aids that help get me through my days as I live with the ever-changing effects of Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (LGMD).

To innovate and improvise makes such a difference to the ease of which I, and others with a disability, perform everyday activities, which in turn helps to preserve our energy and maintain an enriched life.

I really hope that some of my work-arounds can assist others, and normalise the use of aides to those that don’t require such assistance. In other words, this may also help reduce the stigma that comes from doing things differently in an ableist society.


I do love a good read, and now that I am officially a Uni student I read even more than ever. While I still would prefer a paper book, I am so happy to have the modern, lightweight version. Its light-weighted-ness, single-finger page-flick and easy grip has meant that I can continue what I once took for granted.

To be able to keep reading for entertainment and knowledge has been a life-enhancing saviour as my arms continue their protest (weakly of course) against lifting. And one of the best LGMD work-arounds.

Of course there are also Audio Books which are a bit tricky to engage at 3am when you share a bed and can’t get to sleep.

Portable Lap Tray

laughing woman in power wheelchair with a lei around her neck, blonde mid-length hair , floral pants and LGMD work-around lap tray table with younger woman standing beside her with white shirt, jeans and lei.other women standing around laughing and some looking serious

This amazing piece of design has become the TV dinner carrier and crafting platform of millions since the conception of the legged tray table mid 20th century. In a wonderful and unusual twist what was a convenience to the able-bodied has become essential to many disabled bodies.

I’m a big fan and use it for laptop resting when in the car, for cheeses and olives and champagne when socialising and planting little plants in little pots. I take it to restaurants in case I can’t get my wheelchair close enough to get under the table. And it’s a mighty lap warmer in winter.

Auto Soap Dispenser

LGMD work-around - battery operated small soap dispenser sitting on greya bench top with mirror behind
Easy hygiene

I have only been able to find one brand here in Australia but the inexpensive battery operated soap dispenser is revolutionary. I cannot independently use pump action, squeeze or masterfully roll a cake of soap around my hands without much mess, so the ability to stretch under the sensor and have a dollop of cleaning fluid deposited in such a fuss free manner is exhilarating – yep it really is. Maybe the soap companies will see greater need to produce these given our virus-mindful times.

Electric Toothbrush

LGMD work-around - image of blue and white toothbrush sitting on grey ben

Of course this is another convenience product for the masses but for such people with weakness and lack of dexterity the electric toothbrush is the tooth cleanser of choice. The comparative greater weight against a non-electric version still makes it an essential LGMD work-around so that i can continue to scrub in between, around and over those pegs. The electric toothbrush will remain my dental implement of choice – at least for the foreseeable future.

Leg Warmers

LGMD work-around - woollen leg warmers - image of woman in wheelchair and in rainbow leg warmers, mustard scarf , grey beanie and black cape. Flanked by three younger women in jackets and jeans standing on jetty with sea behind them. The days is rey and cold.
My revisited fashion fad has not quite filtered through to the rest of the family

The ‘80’s are back and better and more practical than ever. Sitting down day after day can be quite a leg chilling experience when circulation is inhibited, but not for this gal. After a thoughtful gift from my sister of synthetic leg-warmers to help me combat the shin-shiver, my wonderfully talented and supportive ma-in-law knitted me a couple of pairs of the cosiest, snuggliest and least fashionable winter woollies that I could hope for. It’s an easy knit for those familiar with the old garter stitch. Some might consider my calf-cosies to be form over fashion but at least we have one concept to thank the ‘80’s for. This picture shows me leaning in – rainbow style.

Drinking Straw

An absolute must for many people with disabilities, and not just the cocktail drinkers. Traditional plastic straws have become an environmental, ecological and thus social anathema. And rightly so. And because of this, people like me, who cannot raise a cup, mug or glass to their lips can now use metal, straw, bamboo or cardboard straws to hydrate.

I generally have my travel straws with me when out, as well as some at the homes of various friends and family members, but most eating venues can accommodate with a straw.

Just a tip – a hot beverage will break down some straws – mostly cardboard I have found. And if a place gives you a plastic straw you’ll know as it will melt quickly and you can advise that business to pull their environmental socks up. In some instances plastic straws are seen as the best alternative for some disabilities, and I have added a straw chart for you to consider based on you, or your loved ones situation.

Grabby Stick

I have written about the grabby stick which you can read here a couple of years ago, and thought that I would remind you. Its benefits for independence and reducing over-balancing, pain and frustration cannot be understated. While I have a very handy Labrador to pick things up and even though I am not standing and bending, and am becoming less able to use my arms laterally, I still find the grabby-stick a valuable addition to my Leanneability armoury.

These are just a few tricks, aides and work-arounds that help me, and I am sure you have more. I would love you to share your tips with me and we can all continue a path to life fulfillment. I look forward to your comments.

Yours in inclusion and sharing,


2 thoughts on “My LGMD Work-Arounds

  1. Leanne says:

    Thanks Chris, I’m going to do a second part as there really are so many accommodations we make along the way. There still are such cases for plastic straws in some instances regarding people with disability but at least their use is minimised on the whole. Take care:)

  2. Chris Anselmo says:

    This is a great list! I still use plastic straws. They really are the easiest to use. I think the key is just to minimize usage for when you absolutely need a straw.

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