The graphic that heads up every page of ICAN's website contains logos for Arkansas Department of Career Education and Arkansas Rehabilitation Services as well as four small photographs: young girl at a computer, a senior couple reading the paper, a man at work at a computer, and a woman helping a baby operate a toy.  

 
Find the assistive technology you need:
 

 
Making Life Easier in the Kitchen
 
 
What do you need help doing?
Cutting, Peeling and Chopping
 
Assistive Technology that can help
Helpful Tips
  • Cutting boards can be bought or made with stainless steel nails pointing up to hold meat, fruits, vegetables, cheese and other foods in place for cutting, peeling or chopping
  • If a handle has a tendency to slide, wrap it in a foam tube or wrap or use a foam curler, adhesive-backed foam tape, or spiral it with a rubber band.  Make sure utensils are of sturdy construction.
  • A chopping board with nails pushed through upwards can hold vegetables and fruits while cutting or peeling them. 
  • A peeler mounded on a clamp can be attached to a table top or a cutting board.  The potato or carrot can be pushed or pulled across the blade with one hand. 
  • Vegetables can be held on a damp sponge to keep them from sliding while being cut. 
  • A damp sponge cloth placed not only does a good job cleaning but when placed under a bowl of any other item such as a timer, will keep it from turning while you are stirring or twisting the timer.  Cloths are absorbent, clean easily, and may be boiled to sterilize. 
  • Shears will quickly trim meat if you have good function in one hand. 
  • Large, non-slip handles on knives and other materials provide a more secure grasp. 
  • Use a serrated knife for cutting and chopping because it will give greater control and is less apt to slip than a straight blade.  To control excess motion while cutting, try to keep the blade point down on the board.

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Opening Boxes, Jars and Packages:

 Assistive Technology That Can Help

Helpful Tips
  • Helpful Tips:
  • A rubber sink stopper can be wrapped around a jar for easier opening.
  • Use your knees to anchor boxes or bags of food to be opened.
  • Use scissors or a serrated knife to cut off the tops of plastic bags containing frozen foods.
  • To release a jar top with one hand, set the bottom in a drawer and lean against it with your hip.  The base of the jar will remain steady while the top turns. 
  • If you have a plastic bag of food that is boiled, place the unopened bag into a bowl, cut open the top and catch one end of the bag and turn it over to empty it.  Discard the bag. 
  • If opening a package that requires pushing, like a waxed cardboard carton, using the heels of both hands will save thumbs from being forced backwards.

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Using Utensils

 Assistive Technology That Can Help

Helpful Tips

  • When using one hand to turn or lift foods, small kitchen tongs work better than forks.  They also keep hands away from heat and splatters.  Keep several different sizes on hand for different jobs. 
  • A long-handled French knife allows you to distribute work =between both hands when cutting or slicing.  Keep the point of the knife down on the board to keep better control. 
  • Wrap handles of kitchen utensils in (tubes)
  • A long-handled utensil interwoven between your fingers and supported by your thumb, often lets you turn and handle foods without any other assistance. 
  • Always hold tools with your fingers completely grasped around the handle, the thumb extended to meet the fingers. 
  • Select lightweight utensils, pans and mixing bowls instead of heavy ones.
  • Use large handled utensils—they are easier to grasp than thinner handles.

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Reaching, Lifting and Holding:

Assistive Technology That Can Help

Helpful Tips

  • Use cabinets that are easily reached.
  • Place items on the counter rather than in cabinets.
  • Keeping things stored within reach is the best answer.
  • A child’s hoe is an inexpensive answer for pulling things from the back of the counter or cabinet to the front.
  • Place utensils where they are easy to grasp; if you use only one hand, arrange utensils on that side while cooking so they are in easy reach.
  • Try tongues or a long-handled dust pain and brush to help reach item.
  • Instead of lifting pans, pots and bowls-put them on a cloth or trivet and scoot them from one place to another.
  • When lifting a bowl, it might help to stabilize the elbows on the counter for better leverage.
  • Larger joints are stronger than small ones. Lift pans with palms of your hands instead of your fingers.
  • Bringing a bowl closer to your body while pouring will reduce the weight of lifting.
  • Pushing and pulling things is easier than lifting.  If you must carry things, use a lightweight basket that you can hold over your arm or a shoulder bag supported by your trunk.
  • Let others share in the jobs by doing the lifting and carrying of heavy items.
  • Tongs with wide spatula blades allow you to slip them under food more easily.

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Cooking:

Assistive Technology That Can Help

Helpful Tips
  • Electric skillets are very helpful for cooking in the kitchen because they come with single or double handles, can be used for a variety of purposes, and reduces the amount of transferring in and out of the oven, or off and on the stove.  Look for a unit with handles you can easily manage and a control you can turn without touching hot metal. 
  • Place the microwave on the counter or on a wheeled cart.
  • Casseroles and other pans with two handles are excellent for transferring items to and from the oven.
  • If you have trouble removing things from an oven, use an oven shovel.  If you have trouble lighting a gas oven, try using long barbeque matches.
  • To break an egg, place it in a ½ cup measure, hit it with the heel of your hand and lift out shell pieces with a fork.

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Washing and Drying:

Assistive Technology That Can Help 

Helpful Tips
  • At the sink, use a suction-based brush.  The brush stays where its put and silverware, dishes or vegetables can be moved back and forth against it.
  • Try long-handled scrubbers that can be filled with soap to scrub pots, pans & dishes.
  • Rinse dishes with a sprayer hose
  • Let dishes air-dry.
  • If you must dry dishes, sit in a chair, place the towel in your lap, and bring dishes or silverware into your lap to dry them. 
  • When scrubbing pans, use a sponge that allows you to keep your fingers extended.  Any time you can work with fingers spread, it’s easier.

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Organizing and Working in the kitchen:
 
Helpful Tips
  • Before sitting down, gather all of the items that you need to cook on a wheeled cart. 
  • Store pull-out boards and other items in lower cabinets and areas that can easily be reached while sitting down.
  • A lazy susan at the back of a counter or in a cabinet can be reached more easily.
  • A rack can hold a cookbook for convenient reading. 
  • Use light, unbreakable dishes and kitchen utensils.
  • Line the sink or a wheeled cart with a rubber matting to protect dishes and utensils from breaking when dropped.
  • Sit down while you work.  Select a comfortable chair that gives you back support.  You may want arm rests to support your arms. A footstool or footrest can help not only ease stress on your legs but also serve as a more stable area on which to work.
  • A chair may be lifted by leg extenders making it less stressful on hips and knees when you get up or down.
  • When sitting, putting a large cutting board in the lap can give a solid work space that is easier to reach than a counter.

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