At our last Seattle Parents of Preemies meeting, Danielle Dolezal, PhD, BCBA-D spoke about how a family and team can come together to help children with feeding difficulties. During first half of the session Dr. Dolezal covered the varying complexities of feeding and highlighted the psychological aspects of why children don’t eat including how you can encourage through positive reinforcement.
The second half covered stories from a panel of parents who had an especially difficult time with their child’s relationship to food. The stories were of kids who are completely non-oral and on a gtube. The parents spoke not only of their child, but of themselves and how feeding (something seemingly simple) can feel overwhelming. Within Seattle Parents of Preemies we have a large number of families who have experienced a wide range of feeding issues. Our leadership team is not exempt from these challenges! We have personally dealt with failure to thrive, reflux, food aversion, and tube feeding. Additionally, our very own Su Tan sat on the parent panel and shared about her daughter and their journey away from food aversion.
We know this topic is important to you! We had a record number of RSVPs (nearly 80) and have received quite a bit of feedback from our post event survey. One of the concerns that has been mentioned repeatedly is your concern over the wait times involved in getting supportive services for children with feeding difficulties. On this, we feel your pain and we are not content to sit on our laurels over it! Through community coalitions, we are working to improve wait times for families in evaluations, specialist appointments, clinic visits and more. Sadly, change in this area doesn’t come over-night (although that would be awesome if it did).
If you have concerns over feeding and would like someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our leadership team! We are available to talk with you and listen to your concerns and although we can’t magically solve your child’s feeding issues, we can let you know that you are not alone. In the coming weeks we hope to have some resources about Adventure Bites – a fun way to get you child interested in food as well as additional resources. If you have not taken the first step to have a feeding evaluation, we highly recommend you do so at your local Early Intervention Clinic.