People with cerebral palsy and other conditions that affect motor control often struggle to use traditional dining utensils and dishware. Spastic reflexes, as well as issues with strength, range of motion, and dexterity can make it difficult to eat and drink without spilling. Some people with motor impairments require assistance from others at mealtimes. Adaptive/assistive dining utensils and dishware can also make eating and drinking much easier to do independently. The following are just a few examples:
Clip Grip is an adjustable handle made of silicon that can fit over cups and glasses. The sellers note that although the product was originally designed as a “fun drinking accessory,” they’ve actually gotten the biggest response from people with neurological disorders and physical impairments, who say that the handle is comfortable and allows them to drink with a minimized risk of spilling or breaking glass. It is also dishwasher safe, so the handle does not need to be frequently removed or reattached.
This knife allows people to cut foods by using a rocking hand motion, which is easier for some people with weak grip. It has a 4.5-inch stainless steel blade and is dishwasher safe.
This tool clips onto the user’s hand (it fits either the right or left hand). It has a pocket that sits under the palm, into which a utensil can be inserted. The clip allows the user to eat without gripping a utensil, and the pocket enables utensils to move into the desired angle.
The Scooper Bowl has a high, curved rim on one side that makes it easier to scoop food into a utensil without spilling. Also, on the bottom of the bowl, there is a suction base to prevent skidding. It is made of heat-resistant plastic, and is dishwasher safe.
These adaptive eating utensils were designed by an occupational therapist. They are easy to lift, and they feature a curve that makes it easier to eat with limited range of motion. The direction of a curve depends on whether the user is right or left-handed; both options can be purchased from this website. The Easie Eaters Angled Utensils are designed for children, but there are also many adult options, like this Classic Bendable Tablespoon.
Weighted dining utensils can help minimize tremors and keep hands steady enough for the user to eat without spilling. This particular set also includes handles with indentations for a comfortable grasp, and a soup spoon with a “deeper bowl to prevent spilling.”
This plate features an ergonomic design with “a sloped base, high sides, and wide rim.” This makes it easier to push food onto a fork or spoon without spilling. The plate is also scratch resistant, very difficult to break, and safe to put in the dishwasher or microwave.
Beyond what we’ve already discussed, there are many other options for adaptive dining utensils and dishware. You may consider perusing the following websites to learn more (please note that we have no affiliation with and are not formally endorsing any of these companies’ products):
http://www.abledata.com/: This is a database of adaptive equipment, maintained by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)
Related Reading About Assistive/Adaptive Equipment: