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Spoon Theory

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

[Video/Audio reading available soon]

You don’t have to spend much time amongst neurodivergent people to come across the term ‘spoons’. Neurodivergent and other disabled folx may mention being “low on spoons” or ask for a response “if you have the spoons”.

The term, originally coined by Christine Miserandino, unsurprisingly has very little to do with actual cutlery. Spoons represent a unit of measurement and in this context a measurement of energy and mental capacity.

Someone saying they are low on spoons is letting others know they may give brief or curt replies or cancel plans because they do not have the capacity to do more.

It costs neurodivergent and other disabled folx more energy than neurotypical/ non-disabled people just to navigate day-to-day life. Shopping trips, social interactions and basic hygiene can be mentally taxing, time consuming and energy intensive.

Spoons are shorthand for explaining how much of someone’s capacity has been spent and how much they have remaining. Spoons can also be used as a way of offering and asking for support, “I could do with more spoons”, “sending spoons”.

If you’d like to read more about the origins of Spoon Theory you can read more here.

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