Raising Special Needs Children to be Competent Eaters

by Ines Anchondo, Pam Estes, and Ellyn Satter

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The feeding goal for children with special needs is to help them grow up to be as competent as possible with eating. The perspective of the Satter Feeding Dynamics model is that all children have eating capabilities. Care providers can help best by looking for and supporting those capabilities, then letting children push themselves along to the greatest extent possible to manage their own eating. This principle applies to preventing feeding problems with at-risk children as well as solving feeding problems once they occur. For parents, trusting the child to do his/her part with eating makes all the difference between approaching feeding with dread, concern, and frustration or with confidence, practicality, and joy.

Thursday, April 26th Part 1
Case lessons in assessment and intervention in the child with special needs
Speakers: Pam Estes, MS RD CD and Ines Anchondo, DrPH, RD, LD, CSP, MPH
• A child who went from g-tube to corn on the cob in 12 months. What patience and trust can do!
• A child with Down syndrome and heart disease learning to eat solid food.

Thursday, May 3rd Part 2
Preventing feeding problems in the child with special needs: raising children to be competent eaters
Speaker: Ellyn Satter, MS, RD, LCSW, BCD Children are born with the drive to eat, positive feelings about eating, the joy of discovery and achievement, the ability to regulate food intake, the drive to grow up to be part of the family with eating, and the longing to be understood. Successful feeding supports and builds on their capabilities.
• Preventing feeding problems in the child with special needs: raising children to be competent eaters.
• Understand the evidence-based principles of the Satter Eating Competence Model.

Thursday, May 10th, Part 3
Feeding the special-needs child in a developmentally appropriate fashion
Speakers: Ellyn Satter, MS, RD, LCSW, BCD and Ines Anchondo, DrPH, RD, LD, CSP, MPH
Some children have a late or complicated start with eating because of medical issues, tube feeding, gastrointestinal problems, or neuromuscular limitations. However, they progress through the same sequence of development as other children, albeit more slowly and with more-subtle feeding cues. Helping parents understand child development as it applies to feeding allows preserving eating and building competence in the ill, special-needs, or developmentally delayed child.

About the Presenters:
Ellyn Satter, MS, RD, LCSW, BCD, is a therapist, author and lecturer. She is a registered dietitian, and a holder of the Diplomat in Clinical Social Work. Her best-selling books, including Child of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good Sense and Your Child’s Weight: Helping without Harming, as well as journal and magazine articles, teaching materials, seminars and media interviews have made her well-known to parents and professionals as an authority on nutrition and feeding of infants and children.

Pam Estes, MS, RD, CD, Foods & Nutrition, Pam Estes began her dietetics career after earning her Masters of Science in Foods and Nutrition from Purdue University. Her desire to help people take charge of their health by making good lifestyle choices fueled her decision to become a registered dietitian. Practicing in the traditional approach, she was disheartened by the lack of positive outcomes and by the damage to her patients’ attitudes about food, eating, and self. Discovering and embracing Ellyn Satter’s models of eating competence and feeding dynamics in 1996, she has found satisfaction in working with adults and their families by allowing positive experiences with food and eating to drive their own desires for lifestyle change. Pam currently works for the Indianapolis-based hospital system, Community Health Network. Within the Health Promotion Services Department, she provides an eating competence approach to health management for employees.

Ines Anchondo, DrPH, RD, LD, CSP, MPH, Dr. Anchondo belongs to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND, formerly American Dietetic Association or ADA) Research Committee. She is also a reviewer for the Journal of Nutrition Education and occasionally other peer-reviewed journal as well as a founding member and the current chair of the El Paso Breastfeeding Coalition Southwest Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (SWABA). Her research interests include childhood obesity, feeding dynamics, and breastfeeding.
Dr. Anchondo current job involves conducting research and providing bilingual (English and Spanish) nutrition counseling to parents, caregivers and children in an outpatient setting. She participates weekly in neonatology clinic and discharge planning. In addition, Dr. Anchondo provides lectures and workshops to medical students and pediatric residents in nutrition and public health topics on a regular basis.

Handouts and Reading:

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Session III

Session II

Session I