Therapro's Karen Conrad Weihrauch and Filomena Connor were honored to collaborate in the design of the brand new "Sensory Spoon"
by Chewy Tubes. From the perspective of occupational therapists, we provided information about the fine motor, oral motor, self-feeding, and sensory properties necessary for the creation of this new feeding tool. At this time, it is the only spoon available that focuses on the development of self-feeding with infants as young as 7 months. At this age, infants are curious and interested in handling objects and bringing them to their mouths in exploration - the perfect age to introduce a colorful, tactilely pleasing object that is safe and functional!
Over the past two years, we have worked in partnership with Chewy Tubes
creator, Mary Schiavoni, MS, CCC-SLP, who is also a noted author and Pediatric Feeding Specialist, to develop this new tool. We painstakingly analyzed the skills babies and young toddlers typically develop when learning to self-feed including postural stability, grasp patterns, and oral motor control. We also considered the tactile sensory properties associated with eating. Filomena tested the prototype spoon in various stages of development in the Feeding Clinic where she worked. For a more standardized look at children using the spoon in a natural setting, we completed a pilot study at a day care center with infants and toddlers from the age of 9 months to 2 1/2 years. The children included typical children as well as children who were receiving Early Intervention services.
|The spoon properties we love:|
- Provides a safe sensory experience when mouthed and handled
- Short, textured handle offers sensory input to the palm for grasping
- Natural "stop" prevents gagging or deep insertion into the mouth
- Offers a soft/flexible, smooth textured, durable spoon material
- Flat, slightly upward curve of the bowl's sides facilitates easy food clearance by the lips
The Sensory Spoon was showcased for the very first time in April at the 2018 AOTA Conference in Salt Lake City. Therapists responded to the new spoon with interest and enthusiasm. They engaged in dialog about the spoon and offered analytical feedback about it. Many therapists purchased the spoon for their clinics or with a particular client in mind. They were excited to return home and put it to use. One memorable dad of a child with many special needs purchased a few of the spoons for his son and thought his son would enjoy using the short, stout, textured handle to successfully bring the spoon to his mouth.
The entire process of developing this important new self-feeding tool was a sensational experience. We are very proud of the new Sensory Spoon
Karen Weihrauch, PhD, OTR/L
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