In my attempt to try new things for cerebral palsy improvement. I came across utensils with larger handles. They seemed like an interesting idea to experiment. Thinking about the challenge of holding smaller grips. Most eating utensils in my life have thin grips. Not much to help me stabilize. Whether, gathering the food from the plate. Or, even keeping it steady while bringing it to the mouth. There have been obstacles abound when eating with standard utensils throughout life. Including fear of misjudging the position of my mouth. Anxiety of experiencing embarrassment with the misjudgment of feeding myself. Though, the fear has subsided greatly with age. It could resurface in nervous circumstances. So, I came across these utensils while shopping. They appeared an ideal way to help my unstable hands. Like a straw used in the drinking glass to help limit hand usage. The hours spent looking for larger and heavier cups. Anything I could think of to help hand stability. To limit the chances of spilling a drink, or making a mess of my face. Would the larger handled utensils work in everyday life? My years had been spent working on the use of “standard” utensils. They have often been challenging to use. However, much of my life has been spent doing my best. Finding a way for those eating utensils to work with my disability. The utensils seem like part of the category which tells me, the world was created for others. Utensils are designed with society at large in mind. Designing things to best serve the typically developed among us. Of which, there is nothing wrong. It seems the best thing for us as a world to do.
I was too young to remember much physical therapy. The physical therapy began almost immediately following my birth. Something I have been told through the years was about my mouth challenges. Whether working on controlling the drooling, or working on eating. Working on my ability to eat would have included utensils. Finding the best way of getting food into my mouth. Enabling me to gain more independence. Which, can be challenging with any disability. Working on independence only helps the confidence of anyone. However, I would conclude, the feeling of independence might carry added significant when disabled. I’m sure there was plenty of time spent working in occupational therapy. Challenging the fine motor skills in my arms. Looking for ways of balancing the spoon or fork. My memory is triggered by thoughts of balancing the food. Especially, keeping something balanced on a fork. Sometime pressing the fork into a piece of food was difficult. As the piece of food would fall from the utensils once it was pulled into the air. Age helped the process of using utensils. By continuing to work with the type most of us experience daily. The strength in my wrists and hands build with age. Making the manipulation of utensils easier. Along with the ability to steady the food on them. We never ventured into alternate utensils. Like the ones I recently ordered with the larger grips.
A consistent challenge around the dinner table has been working with a knife. Because, working with the knife requires both hands. The left is required to hold a fork. The fork is responsible for holding the piece of food in place. Requiring varying degrees of pressure, depending on different factors. The size of your food item, along with the stability of the surface being used to cut. Some plates can be more slick than others. While, the place mat or table might cause the plate to slip. Manipulating the fork with my left hand has always been challenging. Even more difficult in my younger years, when the wrists were weak. With age and strength, I found the ability to hold my fork in place. Slicing any piece of food requires coordination. With the fork in the left hand steadying the food, the right must use the knife to cut. The motion used with the knife has always felt like a fine movement. Involving a solid grip with the right-handed fingers. While a short and specific motion causes the food to split. There are many moving parts to slicing a piece of food. The sharpness of the knife also plays an important role. Most standard table knifes have been too dull. Requiring an amount of fine motor pressure impossible for me to achieve. Making it too difficult for me to hold the food with the fork. Being precise enough with the table knife to make the cut. Anytime there is an option for me to use a steak knife. The likelihood of me cutting the food successfully raises significantly. This circumstance was another reason to attempt the larger gripped utensils. The larger handle could increase my ability to create leverage, making cutting easier.
There was an anticipation to receiving these utensils. Getting the opportunity to eat with them. When they arrived at my home. I unwrapped them with excitement. Looking at the handles with thoughts of easier living. The enlarged handles were going to make eating more comfortable. Strangely, when I began using the spook and fork. The new utensils didn’t live up to my excitement. Instead of feeling more manageable in my fingers. The enlarged grips felt awkward to navigate. I had challenges eating with these utensils. Difficulties with utensils that hadn’t been felt in years. My determination became the grips were too big. After years of practice with the standard utensils. The new ones didn’t seem worth getting used to using. There was the option of continuing to work with the tools. Taking the time to adjust to the larger handles. In the long run, they could have ended up being easier to operate while eating. But, my thoughts kept wondering to eating in restaurants. Or, at the houses of friends and relatives. Where standard utensils would be experienced. If these weren’t adding comfort from the start. I couldn’t see how making the adjustment to them would provide full benefit. Maybe, eating in my home would be better. But, going out to eat might be made more difficult. Following all the years of working to operate standard utensils. It felt advantageous to stick with the manner in which I have been eating all my life.
Experimenting with the large grip utensils was good. Showing me the possibilities to help with my disability. Some tools work to help improve functionality. While others don’t feel advantageous for my circumstances. Therapy was such a huge part of my early life. Working on physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Without many vivid memories of those days of work. Sometimes it can be challenge to understand skills developed from them. But, working with utensils seems one of those skills. A skill brought to the forefront of my attention with this idea. The large grip utensils probably would have been valuable. They might have even been necessary at an earlier age. Had it not been for all the work put in to use standard tools for eating. An interesting aspect of cerebral palsy has been just that fact. Sometimes the extra help makes a world of difference. Like in using the button hook to button a shirt. Or, the use of a sponge pen grip to help with writing. It might be dependent on the form and degree of the disability. Meaning these large grip utensils would be a relief for many people. Like the button hook and pen grip, in my case. Trying out new items and thinking of different solutions feel crucial with disabilities. So, when things strike me as interesting, I’m always up to try. Staying open to possibilities of cerebral palsy improvement.