We were recently featured in an aricle in the Summer 2011 issue of Western Pennsylvania Guide to Good Health. The article focuses on creating positive eating habits for picky eaters, an issue that many parents have to deal with. We've re-published the article below.
If you'd like to learn more about positive eating habits for your family, listen to our podcast where "Caring for Kids Radio" host David Martin chats with Janet Laughlin M.Ed., Infant/Child Development Specialist & Family Centered Feeding Program Coordinator for The Children's Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center.
Guide to Good Health article:
When a child has feeding issues, many people assume the child is a "picky eater." However, problem eaters can be a result of sensory, anatomical, or behavioral issues. The Children's Home of Pittsburgh & Lemieux Family Center recognizes how difficult it can be to implement solutions for children that are having difficulty with eating. In collaboration with Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, The Children's Home has established the Family Centered Feeding Program (FCFP) to help families understand their child's feeding issues and create a plan of care.
It is inherent in our nature to assure that children are receiving the proper nutrition, which can be frustrating when a child has aversions to food. It is important to remember that feeding time should be a pleasant experience, building healthy eating habits, so the child associates a friendly, positive atmosphere with eating. It is crucial that the family is the center of the feeding plan, making sure it is carried out by everyone involved in the child's care.
Through the structure of the FCFP, in both the Children's Home's medical day treatment program, Child's Way®, and the Pediatric Specialty Hospital, the entire family is involved in the child's care. Families participate in cooking and preparing meals, working closely with the child's therapists, nursing staff, nutritionist and dietician, while receiving a customized treatment plan with shared goals. Family has an opportunity to stay in the Lemieux Family Center overnight with their child, siblings and extended family, so that everyone can learn therapeutic feeding techniques.
"The Family Centered Feeding Program is based on our belief that a child's family is the most important participant in the feeding program care team," said Chelsea Ruffo, Registered Dietetic Technician for The Children's Home. "Our atmosphere promotes open communication, honors cultural diversity, and utilizes an individualized plan of care." Building consistency between what therapists are doing and what is being implemented at home reinforces positive strategies and helps to not confuse the child. Most importantly, remember that no plan is going to work over night, stay patient and positive and always stick to the plan.