When someone asks me about Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) or Global Dyspraxia, I tell them I am happy to share our story but I  make sure to tell them that I am in no way an expert on how the disorders affect others.  I am only an expert in how they affect my daughter, Elizabeth.

I always say that I am happy and grateful to share our story because it may help others find a solution or in the most simple terms, show them that they are not alone. This is something I know I wished I had felt when Elizabeth was little.

Knowing you are not alone is so important because many times the only thing you feel is alone as you try to find a path or plan for your child.  One that fits their unique needs.  These needs affect all ages and many disorders.

In our years together, Elizabeth and I have encountered many obstacles to her mastering a skill.   Sometimes it was because her increased anxiety made her sensory issues more pronounced or vice versa. Sometimes it was because of her frustration at her Dyspraxia and how it affected her ability to learn a new skill.

I can tell you that there were certain skills that were harder to master than others and one of them was the use  of silverware and her toothbrush.  This is where my “expertise” comes into play because for us the struggle to use these items were related to her Dyspraxia and figuring out how to hold the item and how much strength to use to manipulated the item.

But others may have a child or adult who has a decreased grip strength due to a neurological condition that is not Dyspraxia, that also makes fine motor activities (holding small items) very challenging or arthritis, which can make these skills challenging as well.  While not my area of “expertise” as only Elizabeth is, I know of an item that can be helpful to so many.

This is one thing I wish I had known about and used early in Elizabeth’s life.  It is called the Universal Built -Up Handles.  They are on our site if you wish to see them.  They can help so many people and so many different needs.

How nice would they have been for us to use when we were beginning to teach the use of utensils?  I will answer my own question.  Pretty great!

They have a nice feel to them.  They are ribbed for easy gripping but also they have a nice give to them so they are not rigid.   But the thing I like best is the word right in their name and it is “universal”  This means that instead of using one for only silverware.  They can be used to hold toothbrushes, pens. pencils or even crochet hooks.

They will help make the individual successful as they do their activities of daily living.  Maybe that individual is  someone with arthritis who can be helped by these or maybe it is an individual who has a neurological condition that makes fine motor grasp challenging. In any case, these handles could be considered as aides for daily use.

Back to the original paragraph and my “expertise”, in our world, these might have helped Elizabeth master the skill of eating with a utensil so much easier perhaps even  without the hard struggle to correctly hold a narrow spoon or fork.

These come in a pack of four so they can be used in many forms and no need to be pulled off a toothbrush to be used on a pen and so on.  They can stay on the original item and thus be helpful each time the individual needs to use the item which leads to great continuity for them.

If you have someone in your life who might need help with these kinds of activities, please look at our site.

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of “I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey” and “Emily’s Sister