Monday, March 25, 2013

National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day

Today is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day! The CDC estimates that 1 in 303 in the United States have Cerebral Palsy.  Want to learn more? Click HERE

Yep, that's right! Most people know that the eldest minion is Autistic with Sensory Processing Disorder. We have another member of our household with a disability. The Elder has Cerebral Palsy. It effects both legs and his right hand is bent in towards the wrist. Also there are some fine motor skill problems in his left hand. One leg is longer than the other and he shuffles and has a limp when he walks. He has had several surgeries when he was younger that gave him greater mobility.

There are many simple things that most people take for granted. Lunch happens to be one of them. Until 6 months ago, The Elder took microwave lunches to work with him. Why? Because the box was easy for him to grip to get into work. Most lunch bags had handles that would slip off his wrist and containers are sometimes to bulky or flimsy.
Lunch with The Elder summer 2012

During lunch time he would have someone put his food in the microwave and bring it to him once he was done. Lifting a microwave meal out of the microwave is not an option for him. The container is to flimsy for him to be able to grip. I am trying to get our family off processed foods. So I began to try different options. For most people, lunch containers are no big deal. Any lunch container will work because they have the fine motor skills and 2 hands available to be able to handle any little bend that the container may do. To The Elder, that slight bend can make him lose grip on his lunch.

 I tried the disposable storage containers in the store. You can reuse them if you want and are microwave safe. Perfect, right? No. The way his fingers work, he could not set it on the table and open it. So he would hold it to his body so he could grip it with his "bad" arm and open the top with his left. Because the containers were so thin, they would bend and food would get on him. Also when warm and had the weight of potatoes and meat in it, the container was not firm enough for him to move to the table himself. He still needed someone to do it for him.

The next thing I tried was some more expensive thicker containers. I discovered that most of the really thick ones were expensive. One of the ones I tried out was circular. This did not work at all. The little tab to open it was pointed down and the top was a little more flexible than the bottom. This made it hard for The Elder to open. Also the shape was not something he could easily grip in his elbow. Things with corners worked best. The main issue with most were the tops being to flexible or the tabs to open the container not in the right position for The Elder to open.

One day I decided to give Easy Lunchboxes a try. I am a member of a group and I had heard many good things about them. I asked many questions about them before I decided to give them a shot. My main concern was how thick are they and how much does the top bend. The tab on the top was exactly what the Elder needed, but the top also had to be very firm and not bend.
The Elder can open it one handed. His other hand on the table for support.

Six months later, The Elder eats lunch out of an Easy Lunch box 5 days a week. The top is very firm and allows him to open it easily. The container remained solid even after being microwaved. This allows The Elder to place his meal in the microwave and take it out when it is warmed. He does not have to worry about the container bending at all. Also it stands up to his firm grip. Easy Lunchboxes have given The Elder the ability to have a hot meal and be able to heat and transport his lunch without needing help.

Opening a full bag. Notice that it does not bend and twist like some do when he puts pressure on the top.
I love the bag that Easy Lunchboxes has to offer. We have 2 bags, a green one and a black one. The green one is used almost exclusively.  The poor bag has been dropped several times, minions have spilled things on it, several times a minion have ran off with it and used it as a car tote. Still the bag is in good shape with no rips. The handle is not very long. This makes it easy for The Elder to hang it from his right arm and leave his left hand free to open doors or carry other items. Also the lunch bag is fitted for the Easy Lunchbox. This makes it keep it's shape when an Easy Lunchbox is in it and makes it easier for The Elder to unzip and zip the zipper. If a bag is to flexible, it makes it hard for him to unzip it.

Going to put shoes on for work. 
Daily this bag contains a small can of juice, a bottled water, a bottle of milk, and an Easy Lunchbox. The Elder appreciates the fact that even though there is a little room at the top of the bag, it does not bend like some do.  The handle is long enough that he can get his right hand into it, but short and wide enough so that it stays on his wrist. This allows him to keep his left hand free to steady himself going down the stairs or while walking into work.

1 comment:

  1. Happy cerebral palsy awareness day! If you're intereseted in sharing some of these helpful tips with the cerebral palsy community, check out the CP Family Network facebook page. It's a great place to exchange advice and tips.