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Adaptive Eating Utensils and Accessories

Adaptive eating utensils are used by people who have problems grasping standard utensils. Conditions such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, CVA, multiple sclerosis, and numerous others cause deficits in fine motor skills and tactile sensation that make grasping and manipulating utensils difficult. Without adaptations, the simple task of eating becomes a major chore or even impossible for people with disabilities. The following chart will review a variety of adaptive eating utensils, as well as adaptive cups, plates, bowls, and other accessories that people with disabilities might use during meals.

Item Description How Item is Used Photo/Video
Large handle utensils Spoons, forks and knives with large handles made from hard plastic or soft foam material. These utensils enlarge the grasping surface so a person with limited grasp or hand strength can hold the utensils with more ease. A woman demonstrates the use of built-up handled utensils.
Weighted utensils Spoons, forks and knives with large handles that have weights inside. The handles are usually covered with a vinyl coating. Weighted utensils help increase the proprioceptive input that the utensil gives to the user, helping to reduce tremors and improve control during eating. Link to a photo of weighted utensils.
Angled utensils Spoons and forks constructed with an angle in the shaft to bend the bowl or tines toward one side or the other. Utensils may be angled at 45 degrees or 90 degrees. Some angled utensils are adjustable to allow for any angle. People with limited upper extremity range of motion use angled eating utensils to compensate for the lack of range. Angled utensils are especially useful for people with limited supination. A woman uses an angled fork to feed herself.
Swivel utensils Spoons and forks constructed with a larger or built-up handle that contains a swivel point in the end closer to the bowl or tines. The metal shaft closest to the bowl or tines is connected to the swivel point and bent down to allow the bowl or tines to swing with gravity. People with limited range of motion and extreme muscle weakness use swivel utensils to help keep the food on the utensil while it is lifted to the mouth. A woman uses a high-tech swivel spoon to eat.
Lightweight utensils Spoons, forks and knives constructed out of lightweight plastic and metal materials. These utensils usually come with adapted plastic handles that are easy to grasp. Lightweight utensils are useful for people who have upper body weakness and functional range of motion. Link to a photo of lightweight utensils.

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