If you’re a caregiver or parent whose patient or child has spastic cerebral palsy (spastic diplegia or spastic quadriplegia), you know that it’s a difficult task to promote independence in the child. One of the most important areas of independence is mealtimes.
While the child might wish to feed himself or herself, spasticity will often come between desire and successful results. Motor dysfunctions caused by spasms and other involuntary hand and arm movements can easily knock plates and dishes off of the table. At the least, these motor dysfunctions can make it extremely difficult if not impossible to effectively scoop the food onto the spoon or fork.
The authoritative text, Occupational Therapy and Physical Dysfunction (Margaret Foster, Sybil E. Johnson) discusses the importance of promoting independent feeding for pediatric CP patients. Such patients often fear not only aspiration (choking) problems but also simple “mechanics of feeding” issues. But if at all possible, it is important for the CP child to learn independent feeding to promote weight gain and better health.
You, as a caregiver or parent, can help by taking a multi-pronged approach. For independent mealtimes, you can provide:
Let’s look in further detail at how this specially adapted dinnerware can help your CP patient.
Freedom Distributors manufactures a unique type of non-slip dinnerware for children that uses a patented vacuum base system. It’s not the useless non-skid mats you may have already seen. It’s not the “little suction cups” that some systems use.
Freedom’s vacuum system employs a broad, flat base that adheres so securely that even a sharp rap from a rubber mallet cannot dislodge it. Yet it comes up so easily, an adult can do it with just one finger.
Scoop bowls are smart because they are designed just for people with physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy. One side of the bowl is higher than the other, making it easier to scoop the food.
Divided plates, sometimes called divider plates, are sectioned into one half side and two quarters. Patients suffering from motor dysfunctions rightly do not like it when foods meant to be eaten separately become mixed. These sectioned plates keep everything apart–the way it should be.
Finally, Freedom Distributors’ non-tip cupholders keep beverages securely in place, allowing patients ease and independence. In Standard (6-16 oz.) or Large (16-46 oz.) sizes, these are far from the wimpy cupholders you may have seen elsewhere. Freedom cupholders use the patented vacuum base system and simply won’t tip over–no matter what happens!