Archives for posts with tag: IEP

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”


I have a friend, Jen. She is Elizabeth’s tutor actually but we consider her a wonderful friend.

She is an amazing person, friend, educator and mom.

She has a daughter who is now in Kindergarten and throughout the time we have been getting Elizabeth her tutoring, I have watched how her daughter has grown and developed. I tend to notice many things about child development because of Elizabeth and her struggles and hard work.

So as I am watching her daughter write her letters, I notice she has an amazing mature grip on her pencil. The kind that older children develop after a long time. I told Jen this and she smiled and said that that was something they had been working on for a long time and that she was proud of how well she is doing.

So flash to a year later, and this little girl handed me a Valentine that she had written and I again, noticed how great both the penmanship was as well as her spacing of letters. I think I said “Wow!” and again, Jen said how hard they work.

This whole writing thing made me take pause as I reflected on Elizabeth’s ever evolving journey to write well. With her special needs, specifically Global Dyspraxia, writing is hard work. Keeping it neat is hard work, organizing thoughts to put down on paper is hard work.

This is par for the course for those affected by Dyspraxia. For some these hand-writing skills are affected a little bit, and for others, like my daughter, they are affected a great deal.

With so much going on in her life when she was younger, I can honestly say, I do not really remember how she learned to hold a pencil well. I want to say it was when she was being home-schooled, about age 6. I know I tried to encourage this skill of writing and also coloring which also helps promote imaginative play. Honestly, it was simply too frustrating for her. She would hold the little crayon in this claw like grasp and kind of swipe at the paper with long arm strokes.

I did not know how to teach Elizabeth proper grip. One thing I know now that I did not know then is you can use jumbo sized crayons as a fine motor tool to help strengthen grip and hand muscles.  

At the time, I was wanting her to use a typical sized crayon or pencil because that is what I though was what she use, but what I did not know was that using the super jumbo crayons, and working toward the typical sized crayon was what Elizabeth needed to grow her hand-writing skills.

The Super Jumbo Crayons, on our site, are the ones I am referencing. They are thicker in width and allow for little hands to hold and grasp with ease as they develop the fine motor skills to advance them to a smaller size. The Jumbo Crayons are good for the typically developing children, but what I know now is that they are really helpful to those with special needs.

I think using these Crayons will allow a child to have success in those activities, that most enjoy, but maybe a child with Dyspraxia or other special abilities would struggle with doing. 

I can use my oh-so-clear- hind site to see how nice it would have been to not only allow but encourage the use of these Crayons back in the early developmental days.

And something else to think about is the fact that using them at home in adjunct with guidance from your child’s occupational therapist will encourage success. Also good to know, is that in our sensory world, crayons were never offensive to Elizabeth. Unlike painting or markers.

I know that the Super Jumbo Crayons will be an easy and fun addition to any therapy bin. So if you think these might fit your child’s needs, please take a look on our site.

And also know, that all skills take time to learn for children like Elizabeth. And that each step, each growth is a success to be celebrated!

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”

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