Archives for posts with tag: eating aids

I can remember reading an article one time, when Elizabeth was little.

The article talked about the best way to teach your children to use utensils when learning to eat. I read the article and thought about how it could be adapted to take into account Elizabeth’s dyspraxia. As I was reading the end of the article, it mentioned that the best learning tool to start teaching independent feeding is to use the five fingered tool at the end of their wrist. In other words, their hands! Then build from there.

While this caveat sounded good and easy, for those who have children with special needs, this five fingered tool can be one hard habit to break.

I know for us, teaching the use of utensils was quite difficult. Possibly because we waited a bit too long to begin to offer these utensils to Elizabeth and possibly because that five fingered tool was just too convenient.

Quite honestly, at this time of her life, I did not understand her dyspraxia well enough to know how to teach the skills to her. I mean I knew that we needed repetition and to break down the skills into steps, but what I did not know was the importance of using utensils that would help her be successful. Not just typical silverware.

So when I think about it now, I can see the need for uniquely designed utensils that help build success for your special needs child. So let me introduce you to the Constructive Eating plate and utensils.

The adorable plate and utensils are designed in a construction theme. Meaning the plate is a bright wonderful orange (like a caution cone) and the utensils are in a bright yellow. So right away, the set has an exciting feel to it.

I absolutely love so many things about the Constructive Eating Set. First, I have to start with the utensils and their unique design. There is a fork, spoon and pusher. The part of a typical utensil between the fork/spoon and the handle is not like we usually see but is instead in the shape of a bulldozer.

So it kind of goes, spoon-bulldozer shape-handle of utensil.

This is the same way for the fork and pusher.

The handle itself is textured and thick. The thickness of the handle is helpful for those with grip issues, dyspraxia or just learning how to eat independently.

The pusher is the tool that would be used to get food onto the fork or spoon instead of using a finger. The construction utensil will help the child successfully eat independently, strengthen dexterity & hand-eye coordination, and also promote good table manners!

I think had I pit stopped at thicker utensils for Elizabeth, things would have gone much smoother for her to learn.

So now onto the construction plate! It is trimmed in raised black letters that feel neat to the touch and offers good grip so as not to lose control of the dish when working with it. It is partitioned into three sections. So for the child with sensory issues or the picky eater, one food does not come into contact with another.

The best thing ,by far, on the plate is that there is a spot for each utensil to “park” on the plate so the child can learn where to rest their spoon, fork and pusher. This would help give them more control as they eat and can pick which utensil that they want to use instead of someone handing them the utensil.

Please go to our site to look at the fun and functional construction set.

I can see it being such and easy and fun addition to anyone’s dinnerware.

After all, that five fingered tool will come in handy to eat popcorn or chicken fingers, but this construction plate will help you teach your child how to use that same “tool” to eat with utensils successfully.

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”


Traveling with autistic children is daunting enough since they still need routine and structure. Vacationing brings quite the opposite, so we’ve come up with a few words of wisdom to remember the next time you take a road trip or a plane ride with your autistic child.

Family vacation - Special Needs Essentials

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare
Prepare with your child weeks in advance. Particularly if traveling by air, you’ll want to repeatedly go over the process, from leaving the house to checking in, going through security, waiting, boarding, fastening seat belts, and so forth. Managing your autistic child’s expectations is the most important part of going away, no matter what method in which you choose to travel.

2. Should you fly
Flying? Call your airline in advance, and notify them you’ll be traveling with an autistic child — they should allow you to board early. Some airports even have special autism access programs that allow autistic children to go to the airport days or weeks in advance for things like mock boardings, which will help your child to become more comfortable and familiar with the entire Mother playing with her son - Special Needs Essentialsairport process. Don’t forget to plan the meal in advance with the airline as well as seating arrangements. Pack your eating aids if necessary. Try to book bulkhead seats so there’s more room to move and less possibility of feeling claustrophobic.

3. Should you drive
Driving? Drive at night to lessen outside distractions and help give your child more peace of mind. Along with educational and entertaining DVDs, don’t forget to bring along a pair of headphones for every child — and a pair for mom or dad wouldn’t hurt either so no one is forced to agree on anything. We also recommend arming yourself with plenty of activity kits and toys you can simply throw in the backseat.

4. Undecided destination?
Autistic child outside - Special Needs EssentialsIf you haven’t chosen how you’ll vacation, consider a simple camping trip. Most trips require a lot of outside distractions with theme parks, getting around cities, and so forth. And while those trips are ones your family can’t avoid forever, break it up a bit by going camping sometimes too, which allows you to concentrate more on one another. Free from the go-go-go feeling of most vacations, a camping trip keeps the focus on the family and makes it possible to watch your autistic child more closely. Bring headphones in case there’s noise from neighboring campers, and research what campsites have close-by bathrooms and activities for children.

5. Things to pack
No matter what you decide to do, you might want to pack these items when traveling with your autistic child.
Disposable wipes
Sensory toys
Activity kits

Good luck! And don’t hesitate to share your experience in comments…

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