Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Ability Hacks: Self-feeding tips for kids with disabilities
If you have a child who needs adaptive utensils, you're probably well aware of how expensive that stuff can be (see: You want me to pay $30 for a spoon?). So I'm happy to share some alternatives that encourage self feeding and don't cost a bundle. Note, the utensils will not work for children with severe bite reflexes and you should definitely check in with your speech therapist before trying any of these.
Find easy-to-grasp, inexpensive flatware at IKEA
The handles on the IKEA Kalas children's tableware have a nice, wide grip. They're sturdy, too, and great for trips; we keep a spare pack in the car. At $1.99 for a colorful 18-piece set with forks, knives and spoons, you really can't go too wrong. And you can order them online if there's no convenient IKEA near you.
Adapt utensils with foam tubing
Cut foam tubing ($15 for six tubes with three different opening sizes) to fit the handle of a maroon spoon (available with small and large bowls, check with your child's speech therapist) and voila—a spoon with a user-friendly grip. It's dishwasher safe. Works on pencils, too.
Try an ordinary sippy cup
When your child is working on drinking by himself, the Playtex Training Time Soft Spout Cup is super-light and has handles on both sides for easy gripping. Cost: $5.80 for two.
Keep plates in place with Dycem
A square of this anti-slip material will keep plates from sliding away as your child scoops up food. You can buy a Dycem pad for $16 or a roll of the stuff for $20 (the least expensive is in green).
Got a feeding hack? Share it here!