An effective eater has the ability to be situated in a stable sitting position, while having the attention span and appetite to focus on the task.
An effective eater has the motor planning to pick up a utensil, locate their food, and use the utensil appropriately to bring the food to their mouth.
An effective eater has the coordination of chewing and swallowing food while breathing in between bites.
An effective eater has the cognitive and physical skills of organizing the various tastes and textures in foods.
To this day, this simple task of eating has always been a challenge for Bella:
- Bella’s fine and gross motor skills are comparable to a toddler. Holding a fork while visually locating the food to make contact is a multi-step process.
Bella is always seeking sensory input through banging and spinning objects. Sitting at a table for a meal requires the accompanying adult to be prepared for spilled drinks, flying plates, utensils, and food on the floor.
Bella continues to go through sensory aversions where she seeks specific textures in her foods. From age 4 to 6, I was making batches of peanut butter and grilled cheese sandwiches every 2 days for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Today she is bringing it home to her Asian roots, where a big bowl of fried rice is her meal of choice.
In 2014, our family was referred to the feeding clinic at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. The feeding clinic is a service designed to assess and manage challenges a child is having with feeding, eating, and swallowing. The champions at the clinic includes Christie Raffaele who is an occupational therapist, and Rebecca Perlin who is a speech and language therapist. In collaboration with this dynamic duo, I have created a multidisciplinary team where we take their goals to create a plan for action with Bella’s team of IBI therapists at Breakthrough Autism, and school teacher to improve Bella’s skill development in eating. Over 2 years of dissecting all the steps towards independent eating, we are now at the stage where Bella can transfer her knowledge of the use of a fork and spoon into the home and school environment. Here is a glimpse of the tip sheets that our IBI therapists have created to support Bella outside of therapy:
To ensure Bella’s success with her spoon and fork program, I have tried many products to accommodate her cognitive and physical challenges. One item that I have been on a search for was a quality placemat and bowl that could support her fork and spoon program.
In this blog post, I will be reviewing a meal time product called the ezpz Happy Bowl that was highly recommended by Christie and Rebecca. The mompreneur behind the ezpz brand is Lindsey Laurain . As a mother of three boys and a working mom, her goal with the ezpz products is to make mealtime easier for families. I cannot express that her products have done JUST THAT for Bella! Check out Bella using the ezpz Happy Bowl as she can now eat like a boss:
Here are some highlights of why I love the ezpz Happy Bowl:
Bella has just mastered scooping, however she has not learned how to hold a bowl down with her free hand. Having the placemat and bowl as an all-in-one product that also suctions to the table promotes independence during meal time.
The ezpz Happy Bowl is made from high quality silicone that is easy to clean and doesn’t promote growth of bacteria or mold. Another bonus is that it is microwave and oven safe! What I love most about this silicone is that it creates a skid resistant base so that when Bella is using a fork, the small pieces of pancake stay in one place so that she can visually target her food and stab at it with success.
- As Bella often spills food out of the bowl as she scoops her applesauce or yogurt, the all-in-one product allows me to just lift the whole placemat to rinse in the sink and place it in the dishwasher.
Through many meals of using the ezpz Happy Bowl at home...
Bella is beginning to transfer her fork and spoon program into a restaurant! Restaurants are not easy places to go to for families with children who have special needs, however knowing that she is moving forward with her fork and spoon program in different environments is a huge success.
Bella has been using the ezpz Happy Bowl for almost a year now, and we are still loyal to this product. This sturdy yet flexible placemat/bowl is a great tool that we will hold on to as we continue to reach our feeding milestones! If you are a parent, caregiver, or educator who is looking for a product that can make eating #ezpzfun, check out these products here.