How Grant has reinvented the spoon

Grant Douglas, who has cerebral palsy, with the revolutionary new spoon he helped design. Pic: Malcolm McCurrach
Grant Douglas, who has cerebral palsy, with the revolutionary new spoon he helped design. Pic: Malcolm McCurrach
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Most of us keep our fingers crossed for something to tickle our tastebuds – Grant Douglas simply hopes his culinary offerings stay on his plate.

A trip to a restaurant is usually an enjoyable affair for diners, but for the 40-year-old it is often ruined by his dishes ending up on the floor.

But now Grant – who was born with ataxic and athetoid cerebral palsy, resulting in limited hand control – has had his life transformed thanks to a revolutionary spoon he helped design.

Grant, from Corstorphine, said: “If I go into a restaurant, I can eat without the person next to me having to feed me. It’s a human right to be able to eat what I want, when I want and how I want.

“Words cannot describe the difference the spoon has made to me.

“It has turned my life around completely – I’ve got freedom to do what I like, when I want.”

Dubbed the “S’up Spoon”, Grant’s prototype device resembles a pipe-shaped scoop, allowing him to drop food – including cereals and soups – into his mouth to avoid it spilling over the side.

Now a bid has been launched on crowd-funding website Kickstarter to raise £33,000 to put the spoon into mass production and extend its benefits to thousands of others.

Grant worked with Mark Penver, who led the design of the spoon while on placement with Glasgow consultancy 4c.

Mark said: “Grant gave us a lot of direction working on the spoon – it was important to balance the function with long-term durability and inclusivity.

“We wanted to create a product that allowed Grant to expand his diet, both at home and when eating out with friends.”

If the project is successfully funded, 4c intend to distribute the first batch of online orders before Christmas.

Always determined to live an independent life despite his condition – which also affects his speech and walking ability – Grant graduated from Napier University with a BSc in computer science, before heading to the US to investigate disability rights and has since joined various organisations seeking to achieve equality. He works part-time for Children in Scotland as its IT officer and is also a disability equality trainer with Capability Scotland.

He said: “Apart from people’s attitudes, one of my biggest challenges has been eating, especially with a spoon. I have extremely limited use of my right hand and the level of control over my left is nothing like what non-disabled people have.

“I can’t stand people who just moan, moan, moan. I have never moaned about having cerebral palsy – I’m a very positive guy. The only time I complain is when people patronise me or treat me like I’m four when I’m actually 40, or being treated worse simply because I’m disabled.”

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com