Saturday, May 15, 2010

Improving Self Feeding Skills in a Toddler With Down Syndrome

Many times children with Down syndrome have a little trouble with their fine motor skills. These fine motor skills are needed when it comes to using utensils and self feeding. It is actually pretty amazing all that is involved when it comes to self feeding once you break it out in small parts.

Nichole has pretty good fine motor skills, but still needs some help. part of the problem is that she gets easily distracted when she is eating. I would say that a good quantity of her meals usually ends up on her face, hair, and floor.

Recently I saw a blog post where a mom mentioned she would put a mirror in front of her child when the kid was eating. I wish I remembered where I saw this so I could give credit to whom credit is due.

Nichole seems to master many skills in front of mirrors. We have a large mirror in the kitchen where Nichole does most of her verbal play. She watches closely as she forms words and sounds, paying close attention to her lips and tongue. I knew right away that having a mirror in front of her could turn out to be the best thing in helping her master those skills needed in self feeding.

Our great friends from Early Intervention had the perfect mirror and they are letting us borrow it until we can get our own.

And let me just works! Nichole loves seeing herself in front of a mirror, and she is so aware of every move! She also talks to herself and strikes her "poses" to see how cute she is.

Although some food is still being wiped of her face and her hair still needs washing, it is amazing how much better she has done when she eats with the mirror in front of her. She is even wiping her own face when she sees she is dirty. She did before too, but now she can see when she if she needs to do more than one swipe to clean her face.

So happy eating everyone!


  1. thanks for sharing ellen.
    karina is now 20 months old and is working on finger feeding herself. her fine-motor skills need much work. this is a great idea... although i think the sight of a mirror in front of karina will just excite her too much that she won't eat and just stare at herself.

  2. That's exactly what Ana's OT suggested for us and it worked really well, especially with the stuffing issues we were having. We have a much smaller mirror though! That one looks great.

  3. That's awesome! What a great idea. How about Nina and Ellie? Do they want to have a mirror too? :)

  4. Anonymous3:52 PM

    Cute dishes sure help too.
    A Grandma

  5. Neat idea! While Isabel doesn't have DS, she is still catching up in her fine motor skills, too, so I may have to give it a try!


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