Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology vol:48 issue:11 pages:888-91
The effects of adapted spoons on food spilling and movement kinematics (movement duration, dysfluency) were examined in people with tetraparetic cerebral palsy (CP). We varied the thickness of the spoon's handle (diameters of 1, 3, and 5cm), the substance with which the spoon was filled (sugar or water), and the size of the bowl into which the spoon had to be emptied (diameter 5 or 11cm). Ten adolescents with tetraparesis (five males, five females; mean age 17y 2mo [SD 1y 3mo]; range 14y 7mo-18y 6mo) and 12 healthy comparison participants (four males, eight females; mean age 25y 6mo [SD 3y 0mo]; range 20y 0mo-30y 0mo) participated. Four participants with tetraparesis could walk independently, while the other six sat unstrapped in a wheelchair. The task consisted of picking up and transporting the filled spoon and emptying it into a bowl. Movements of the hand were recorded by a three-dimensional motion tracking device. When the spoon's handle was thickened participants with CP were faster in picking up the spoon and transporting it to the bowl, in particular when the spoon was filled with water. Importantly, this faster performance did not lead to increased spilling. These results are the first systematic test of the supposed beneficial effect of adapted spoons on movement performance in people with CP.