We recently bought the DuoSpoon from Mealtime Notions. Jenna has lots of oral-motor issues since she’s never really eaten (much) by mouth. Add in her sensory processing issues, and it’s not a good scenario for encouraging eating. She has definite aversions to certain textures in her mouth, has a hard time coordinating chewing and swallowing, and is VERY stubborn about trying new things. The PLUS side to her sensory issues is that she seems to love chewing on things. She’s always sniffed things that were new in her environment, but, through our occupational therapist, we also learned that when she’s “sensory seeking,” she enjoys chewing things. We learned that we need to encourage this in order to also encourage eating behaviors. Typically developing kids will mouth almost everything in an effort to learn about the world around them. Jenna never did. We thought we were lucky to have one less thing to worry about at the time. Little did we know.
So, in an effort to encourage oral exploration, we brought the infant teethers back out. Jenna calls them “chewies” and sometimes even requests them. More often, we prompt her to use them, especially when we notice she’s chewing her fingers or putting a toy in her mouth. We keep some in the freezer and some at room temperature.
When I came across the DuoSpoon, I was thrilled. Mostly, because I thought it was a textured spoon. I think it’s important to note from the start that it’s not. Neither end is curved or deep enough to actually scoop food. It’s also SO flexible (latex-free silicone), that nothing weighty could be scooped efficiently. That being said, it IS an excellent dipper. Dipping is really more where Jenna’s at with food exploration anyway, so it’s working out well for us. She thinks it’s fun to dip it into honey, purees, soups, sauces and peanut butter, and even enjoys chewing on it without food.
Here’s what the product insert states that came with the DuoSpoon:
Both ends of the DuoSpoon provide sensory variation during mouth exploration and as food is taken from the bowl. The sensation bumps provide a bridge to texture acceptance. Once the child likes mouthing this end, food tastes can be introduced. The sensation bumps can turn a simple puree into a texture experience…The speedbump end provides a gentle wake up as the upper lip moves across the spoon bowl. This additional sensory input can alert the lip to increase central lip activity during oral motor treatment.
All in all, we like the DuoSpoon. My only request would be that it would be more spoon-like, and perhaps a little less flexible. DuoDipper might be a better, more accurately descriptive name, but, overall, I think it’s an excellent sensory tool to encourage oral motor development and to encourage proper eating behaviors as well as food curiosity.