Utilising Cooking in Occupational Therapy
“James” loves to cook.
Being in his late 20’s, learning to cook is a valuable life skill and one which he has found difficult due to reduced fine motor skills and mild developmental delay.
To help “James” develop his fine motor skills and cognitive strategies, we have incorporated a graded program where we have tapped into his passion, is loads of fun whilst increasing his life skills.
“James” spends time with his Occupational Therapist each week cooking for his family.
Firstly, he plans what he is going to cook from his recipe book.
His recipe book contains recipes that have been graded to increase in complexity to match the growth in his skills.
Next, he writes the shopping list.
Writing down the ingredients required helps to develop his writing and organisation skills.
When Kat our OT arrives, together they go shopping for what they need to make their meal.
This helps to build “James” independence by making decisions and doing the shopping for himself.
Once they have their ingredients, they get to work cooking.
“James” is responsible for whisking, stirring, cutting, chopping, measuring, and cooking.
Through this process “James” has learnt important safety skills including keeping surfaces clean so not to cross contaminate; working with heat; and safely using knives. (He has less band-aids on his fingers now compared to when we first started!). Assistive Technology and visual prompts are used to support James in this process, incorporating iPad video recipes which he can play and pause to follow the steps.
“James” loves cooking for his family.
There is no greater pride serving a meal made with love to those you love.
And they absolutely love his cooking.
They also love that he has found something that he truly loves to do.
In doing so his developmental skills have grown substantially.
We love that we have been able to assist “James” develop multiple skills in a practical way that serves him in participating in everyday activities.
Katarina Cook is an Occupational Therapist with Heroes Allied Health. She has extensive experience working with clients of varied demographics and complex medical conditions and loves working with clients to promote independence and improve their quality of life.