Customizing the Kitchen:
From Potato Peeler to Large Appliances
In the last few weeks, Chase and I have been contacted by various kitchen utensils and appliances companies, and offered the opportunity to test and review several products. Right now, we’re in the midst of our product “test- kitchen” adventures, and the process has brought to mind a few thoughts that I want to share about the things I look for and consider when helping Chase to select items to use in the kitchen. Many of these things might be considered universal preferences, as far as what generally appeals to most people. But some things are particular to those like Chase, with various special needs.
Craftsmen, chefs, athletes, artists, writers, and any number of other professionals and enthusiasts, have the tools and uniforms of their occupations customized to suit their needs, preferences, and comfort. Likewise, Chase’s needs, preferences, and comfort require certain customizations. In previous posts, I’ve discussed the various challenges that accompany Chase’s diagnoses, and how they affect his everyday life. Among them are his struggles with fine motor skills, low tone musculature in his upper body, and the deficit in the communication between his brain. These factors weigh-in heavily and dictate which items Chase is able to use safely and most effectively in the kitchen. Given his circumstances, it is essential that his utensils and appliances come in easy to open packages, are light-weight and precise; easy to assemble, clean, and store; and kept in good working condition.
When it comes to assembling appliances, we all know how vague, confusing, or even incomplete written directions with minimalist sketches on pamphlets or on the sides of boxes can often be. And that’s if the manufacturer has included directions with the product, and if they are in a language that you understand! I’ve shared before that Chase is almost 100% a visual learner. Which means, that the poorly written or complicated instructions with bad drawings, that many people struggle with, definitely do NOT compute for Chase. I know there are many people just like him. Granted, there are some gifted people out there who don’t need instruction sheets of any kind and intuitively know how to assemble a pile of pieces in record time. Most of us fall somewhere in between the two extremes. Fortunately, there are some savvy, forward-thinking companies who are going the extra mile and optimizing their customer service by providing simple, how-to instruction videos for their products on their websites. This is fantastic!
It seems to me, that in this day and age, simplicity, precision, understanding, and accessibility are what all of us need and want - whether we have certain challenges or not. And if what we need and want comes in a cool or colorful package, that’s icing on the cake. The way I see it, as more industries and companies begin to provide products and services that enable those with challenges to function more effectively and independently, the better it is for all of us. Take a look at some of the items that we’ve reviewed to see if any of them might work for you.