Cooking with a Child with Special Needs

As a child with Cerebral Palsy, your son or daughter may be facing a wide assortment of challenges: emotional and/or physical. Being able to engage with your child on a daily task can be rewarding as your ability to multi-function expands (something every parent appreciates!) Cooking is just one of several different efforts that, with the right amount of time, parents can enjoy with their child, even those with special needs. Here are three different pieces highlighting options when it comes to cooking with a child with special needs:

5 Ways To Get Your Child with Special Needs Involved in the Kitchen: a great piece from the folks at Friendship Circle (check out their website – it’s great!), this blog post has some wonderful suggestions when it comes to cooking options, but also how to provide direction to your child. Our favorite: “Be creative and make mistakes.” Taking the pressure out of the meal gives your child room to build confidence despite any challenges faced and also helps simplify instructions.

Book Options: buying a cookbook may seem obvious, but is your cookbook instructional or visual? Picture-based cookbooks are a great way to break down steps through a representation rather than a ‘concept’ or idea. Picture cookbooks can remove the stress of ‘reading’ from the process, but also provide no-cook options and more.

Use Different Methods of Engagement: don’t be tempted to limit your child due to perceived or real limits. Being able to have your child take on a variety of tasks rather than one specific task repeatedly can help you in transitioning away from those steps that might create frustration while also extending the timeline. This blog helps highlight diverse ways that even a small step can help extend your child’s involvement. Whether adding a minor herb or engaging with sensory play with leftover ingredients, your child has a lot of options during the entire process. More can be found in this nice piece.

These are just a brief summary of options and ideas surrounding cooking with a child with special needs. Cerebral Palsy can impact children in a wide variety of ways so there can’t be just one idea or concept, much less method, to teach. Instead, we hope these suggestions inspire you to look for ways to adapt your own recipes while also building new opportunities!

For more information on programs and organizations aimed at helping you and your child, contact us today. You can also call us at (800) 692-4453(800) 692-4453 FREE Monday through Friday or visit our website for more information aimed at helping your child with Cerebral Palsy!