Adaptive Feeding Equipment

  • Situation

    What types of adaptive feeding equipment would allow my child to gain greater independence with her self-feeding skills?

  • Summary

    A team of parents, educators, therapists and children when appropriate should make decisions about using adaptive or special feeding equipment. Consider how to assist the child in being as independent as possible with the least intrusive equipment. Make sure the child’s seating position is addressed before eating begins and that the child maintains a good seating position while eating. Listed in the process section are examples of frequently used adaptive equipment. Remember to consult with an occupational therapist or speech therapist who has experience working with children with feeding needs.

  • Definition

    Adapted feeding equipment and tools are used to help children become as independent as possible when eating.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 3-5, 6-10, 11-13, 14-17, 18+
    • Planning Effort: Moderate
    • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Pre-requisites


  • Process

    1. The following are examples of commonly used adaptive feeding equipment:


    • Cut-out cups are commercially available and are used to prevent hitting the child’s nose or tipping back the child’s head while tipping the cup to drink. At home you can cup a styrofoam cup or other disposable cup yourself. Just be sure that biting the cup is safe for the child (no biting hazard or rough edges).
    • Straws can help develop sucking and improve lip closure. Using a fun, colorful straw can provide motivation for drinking.
    • Spoons with a rubber bowl can be used with children who have a hypersensitive bite or gag reflex.
    • Scoop dishes with suction cups on the bottom can be used to prevent the dish from moving around the table when attempting to scoop.


    2. Talk to your therapists about using adaptive feeding equipment that may best suit your child’s needs.

  • Documents and Related Resources


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