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Using cutlery

Hi @Jean_Scope

I have CP-left side hemiplegia and I struggle to use cutlery. I’m ok with a fork but I find using both a knife and fork together to cut food quite challenging. Do you have any tips for ways to improve this? 


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  • Matilda
    Matilda Member Posts: 2,610 Disability Gamechanger
    Do you think adapted (easy-grip) cutlery might help?
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  • Jean_OT
    Jean_OT Member Posts: 513 Pioneering

    Hi @han156

    Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

    Following on from what other community members have already suggested, here is a link to a list of cutlery designed for one-handed use:

    However, I get the impression that your query is really more about how you can improve your functional ability to use a knife and fork together using both hands?

    Firstly, it is important that I stress that because of the very diverse nature of how cp impacts on each individual in a way that is specific them, what is going to be essential for you is advice based on you having an individual Occupational Therapy assessment. If you aren't already receiving support from an Occupational Therapist (OT) your GP will be able to refer you.

    The OT will look at what your functional difficulties are (gross motor, fine motor, combination) and see if functional improvement can be made by adapting how you do the task and/or adapting the environment (i.e. specialist cutlery, grippers to stop the plate moving, plate guards etc).

    The next part of the process is probably going to be you doing lots of practice on your own, starting off with foods that are easier to eat, and as you master those, progressing to foods that are more problematic.

    As a general point- acquiring new physical skills can be very challenging for adults with cp, because often they will already have had a lifetime of not using the necessary muscles etc in the most optimum way, so the battle can be greater than for people with a more recently acquired disabilities, stroke for example. There is actually very little literature around advising adults with cp how to work on acquiring new skills, probably due to the diverse nature of the condition and the need for individual assessment. However, some people with hemiplegic cp might find that some of the exercises suggested for people that have had strokes prove to be useful for trying to increase two-handed function and comfort crossing their effected hand across the mid-line of the body. Post-stroke exercises are fairly readily available on the internet. Here are some examples of exercises that might assist with shoulder strength and control:     

    Obviously I have no way of knowing if such exercises would be appropriate for a specific person, giving that advice is the role of OT that can do an individual assessment. If a person wants to try out something new it is important to take professional advice, also not to overdo things or risk doing activities that cause pain or risk injury. Also to be patient and persistent with practicing and celebrating small gains and improvements.

    Best Wishes


    Jean Merrilees BSc MRCOT

    You can read more of my posts at:


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