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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”


When Elizabeth was young, about three or four years old, I had made a basket of activities for her. The basket contained many items that we used to help her fine motor work, helping her cross mid-line, count and identify colors.

There was a piggy bank for her to put pennies in, there was THERAPUTTY with beads in it to encourage her finger strength, there were these big plastic nuts and bolts to encourage motor planning and wrist strength among many other things. I would change them around as I was guided by the OT because as we all know, their sensory diets change as do their motor and sensory needs.

I think what made something better than another for Elizabeth was when she liked the therapy tool or toy we were working with. And this was way back in the late 90’s, so the options for special needs children were not as great as they are today. (I know, I just made myself sound old!)

But my point is, there are so many great therapy tools available that would really be fun and enjoyable for your special needs child to play with or for you assist in playing. Items that can help your child work on strengthening fine motor, oral motor and other gross  motor skills, but are fun. In my experience, this is the ticket to success!

So the sensory toy I have to talk about today looks innocent enough in its prettiness. But look at it again and I can see the great possibilities it can serve for a therapy tool.

It is called Build-A –Bouquet. And right away it looks inviting because it looks easy to play with and trust me, this can be the biggest thing because with sensory issues, loud or overwhelming toys can become an instant no.

So what I see is this eco-friendly toy has 44 pieces. They consist of the parts of flowers: the leaves, the petals and the inner part of a flower. The flowers, lilies, petunias and daisies, come in yellow, pink or purple colors. And instead of a vase, there is a flower bed that has a winding shape to it.

No noises, batteries, switches or really small parts!

Right away I know how great this would be for color identification. Even if it is only to separate them into piles. And then progressing to making a line of purple ones, then yellow and then pink.

The flowers have a nice solid feel to them, so that they will be easy to maneuver. They are very slightly textured which again, helps with holding them.

Putting the flower stems into the flower bed will work on eye-hand coordination as well as fine motor control. Then comes the fun of picking the colors of flower and inner part of the flower to use. This is the part that will build creativity but also keep working on fine motor skills. You can even put the flowers on one side of the table and the flower bed on the other to encourage your child to cross mid-line. The pretty flowers that are the result are a fantastic motivator! 

The thing I loved is that putting the flower bed together will encourage them to use both hands at the same time and working on wrist strength and motor planning to get the pieces to fit. But again the pieces are nice and big so that encourages success.

Being a lover of the pastel colors of these flowers, I know Elizabeth would have loved this to be added to her “work” basket. And this can hold true to any sensory bin that you might have.

So if you have a thought that this is something you might like use for your child, please visit our site to read more.

And again, for my planet saving, recycle everything you can daughter, this toy is made from recycled milk  jugs!


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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