Fine motor skills: Peeling Potatoes | the dyspraxic chef

Peeling Potatoes | the dyspraxic chef

The dyspraxic chef was not dictating the menu this evening nor was I doing the cooking. Control of the kitchen was handed back to afrogontherun.com. As I haven’t posted for a week or two I thought I’d take the opportunity to practice my fine motor skills, something that an adult with dyspraxia might have to work harder at than a non-dyspraxic.

Usually, when confronted with the task of peeling veg, a dyspraxic adult might well end up with chunks of veg and slices to their fingers. I am not quite the butcher I once was when it comes to vegetables but many a spud (potato) has fallen victim to my heavy hand.

To peel or not to peel

To peel or not to peel

Do dyspraxic adults struggle with fine motor skills?

Due to poor fine motor skills, adults living with dyspraxia can struggle with basic tasks that non-dyspraxics find easy or take for granted. It has been reported that it takes a dyspraxic’s brain 10 times more energy to function than a non- dyspraxics’ brain. To put that in perspective, something like making a meal for one, never mind a family, can be an energy sapping experience.

Then consider each task required to make the meal. Some would suggest to keep it simple, but I am yet to come across an adult living with dyspraxia that keeps things simple.

I peeled the potatoes and then sliced them but it took much longer me to do it then it would have the frog. Half way through slicing I was glad I was not making the dish and that I could sit down.

Dexterity: adults and children with dyspraxia can have poor dexterity, making task such has using a knife difficult.
Grip: adults and children living with dyspraxia can have issues holding things such as a knife and fork. This can have implications with peeling and chopping as a dyspraxic’s grip is often either too strong or too loose.
Clumsy:  due to poor spatial awareness people with dyspraxia are often clumsy, this can implications when using sharp objects and extra caution should be taken when using knives in particular.
Concentration/hand-eye coordination: losing concentration is something I could attribute to ADHD rather than dyspraxia but poor hand-eye coordination is common amongst adults living with dyspraxia.

How does the dyspraxic chef do it? 3 top tips:

  1. Be gentle: I often butcher food because of poor grip or through are being ‘heavy handed’, if you think you are being too soft, you are probably doing it just right.
  2. Be patient: I often get frustrated and want to give up mid-way through a task. This is not helpful if I am the one doing the cooking. So take a few deep breaths and take your time.
  3. Be happy: I find cooking and food prep relaxing and that can only be a good thing.

Things can only getter better:

Without a doubt, unequivocally, all of the above dyspraxia symptoms can be improved upon. With practice and the correct environment, not to mention, plenty of encouragement from those around, things can only get better. Cooking with dyspraxia can be fun. But like with all things in life, to do something fun, we have to do something tedious  first. Peeling and preparing vegetables can be a tricky task for adults living with dyspraxia. My personal enemy is the carrot. I can help but attack those sticks of orange as if they intend to harm me.

Yours and Hungry,

the dyspraxic chef

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5 thoughts on “Fine motor skills: Peeling Potatoes | the dyspraxic chef

  1. Nice one! Keep writing.

    My 8 year old son is dyspraxic. The closest he is getting to my kitchen is the electric mixer when baking cakes. That’s it!

    I’ll include peeling potatoes and carrots in his weekly homework soon enough! Got to start practicing early, right?

  2. Do you have any tips on how to hold a round object like a potato when using a peeler (like in your picture)? I’m capable of afflicting serious wounds with that thing :-S.
    On the subject of carrots: I buy them with the green part, so I can hold on to that in the end. I start with holding on to the thin part, while peeling the other larger end and vice versa. (The thin part always slips away when I try to hold it when it is already peeled)

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