News and opportunities
If this is your first visit, check out the community guide. You will have to Join us or Sign in before you can post.

Special Needs Cooking Project

BusyOTBusyOT Member Posts: 76
edited November 2014 in News and opportunities
Hi Laurin - maybe a student OT would be the best person to help with your project (I'm not sure where you are but this link will help you find your nearest Uni training OT's). I'll also tweet your request and maybe someone will come forward via netbuddy!
Have you heard of a time timer They are brilliant (but expensive) and can often help people who can't properly understand a standard timer.


  • LaurinLaurin Member Posts: 4
    Hi Everybody,

    My name is Laurin and I am a design student working on a project, which tries to make cooking easier for people with learning difficulties.
    I am working on a concept that includes products such as colour coded bowls etc. to measure things as well as stickers and other aids to adapt kitchen tools and equipment for easier identifying.
    Along with these products a picture/graphics based cookbook shows how to prepare the meal.
    I am also looking into a system that will make shopping easier.

    To sum up my project: I want to create a solution that enables the largest possible amount of people to prepare a warm meal.

    I would really appreciate any feedback, ideas and suggestions.

  • BusyOTBusyOT Member Posts: 76
    Hi Laurin - your project sounds fab! Have you got an OT or an OT student involved with you - they could help you to break down the task into steps that can be understood by a range of people (we call it Activity Analysis)?
    Have you seen or ? There are also lots of other sites out there that are quite good. The "I can cook" book (from Cbeebies) is also excellent and although aimed at kids provides really simple healthy recipes in an accessible format. We also sometimes use the recipe games that come with the DS - they show you in short videos some simple recipes.
    Re equipment - I like the idea of different coloured bowls but I have found that the more "equipment" you have sometimes the more complicated the process can become! Stickers are a great idea though and you could show measurements with different colours. Try checking out Lakeland for some really good pieces of equipment - they have jugs that don't boil over, oven mitts etc.
    For shopping we use "shopping books" - wee books with a few laminated pages with velcro on. You can then make your shopping list and fasten the photo or symbol of the item that you want in the book and take it out once the person has found it in the shop. Tesco let you use the photos on their website.
    Good luck with your project and let us know how you get on - we will probably want to buy a version!!
  • LaurinLaurin Member Posts: 4
    Hi Arlene,

    thank you very much for your response. I looked at the two websites already. They are nicely made and I included them into my research.
    The resources I found, often use ready made ingredients and/or are not very nutritious or healthy. The "Picture Cookbook" has very nice photos and recipes but doe not include the hop or oven. I want to include meals which are simple but healthy and can be cooked easily.
    I will look for an Occupational Therapist in or around Falmouth, that will be very helpful for my project. Do you know what the best way is to find one? Ask the council?
    Equipment wise I want to make as little as possible, just the neccesary things to accompany the book such as measuring bowls and spoons, a timer and a chopping board. These products will be needed to go along with the colour coding in the book. With other methods of colour coding such as stickers and elastic bands to adapt already existing kitchen utensils I want to reduce the need for buying new things.
    For the cookbook I thought of using graphics and simple illustrations to avoid confusion when the products are different to the ones on the photos. Laminating the pages of the book would make it more durable and wipeable.
    For the shopping I thought of shopping lists which go along with the recipes. The idea of taking off the the articles from shopping list which are in the basket is really nice.

    This project is still in the beginning and feedback is very important. I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Cheers Laurin
  • HeatherHeather Member Posts: 171 Listener
    Hi laurin
    I love cooking with my 11 year old who has very complex needs. We use a washing up bowl instead of mixing bowl...he always misses the bowl. Break eggs into a seperate bowl before adding to a mixture. Nothing worse than picking shell out! But I end up photo copying pages, laminating them and then having them ready for the assault on my kitchen! Could your book be lever arch style to allow pages to be taken out? Shopping lists, I cut out pictures of the ingredients and stick them on a list so he can try looking himself...usually get every other item in the trolley as well! But all part of the learning curve. And it's the diverting from the recipe my son finds hard. If it says chop the parsley...he insists on a knife.....RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! I try to use scissors where possible and insist he needs an adult if he can't lift the pan, or using the oven. Please include oven gloves!! His pain threshold makes me shudder when he puts his hand in a pan to see if it is hot! We're in Kent, but if you want any testers...give us a shout! Good luck sounds very exciting.
  • LaurinLaurin Member Posts: 4
    Hello Heather,
    thank you for your reply. The tips sound very good and I will definitely put them into my research.
    I will hopefully have prototypes ready but I feel this is going to be a long project. I am getting all this really useful information which is pushing the project forward.

    Thanks again to you and your son.

  • LaurinLaurin Member Posts: 4
    Thanks Arlene,
    I am in Falmouth in Cornwall, so I guess the closest is Plymouth University. I will try to get in contact with them.
    The time timer look interesting and are expensive indeed.

    Cheers Laurin
Sign in or join us to comment.