Make a Choice: Food Police or Food Education

By Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP

In Aurora, CO, a preschool teacher in a public school setting would not allow 4 year-old Natalee Pearson to eat the Oreo cookies in her home-packed lunch. Instead, a note reprimanding the mother’s choice to include cookies was sent home to Natalee’s mother, who had also packed a sandwich and fruit. The note read:

“Dear Parents, It is very important that all students have a nutritious lunch. This is a public school setting and all children are required to have a fruit, a vegetable, and a healthy snack from home, along with milk. If they have potatoes, the child will also need bread to go along with it. Lunchables, chips, fruit snacks, and peanut butter are not considered to be a healthy snack. This is a very important part of our program and we need everyone’s participation.”

Read more on The Laboratory >>

How to Track Food Exposures and Expand Food Variety for Selective Eaters

By Melanie Potock

Research shows a child takes eight to 15 exposures to a new food just to enhance acceptance of that food. Yet, most parents offer a new food to a child just three to five times before giving up on presenting it. As a speech-language pathologist who specializes in pediatric feeding, I have created a guideline for parents to give them research-based,  practical strategies for expanding their picky eater’s palette.

The Three E’s: Expose, Explore, Expand, is a systematic method of helping families create consistent exposures to a variety of foods, even when the child is a hesitant eater. Exposure and exploration might include sensory play, gardening, visiting farmers’ markets or food pantries, and cooking.

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Read more on ASHA Leader Blog >>

What Is Hippotherapy?

By Barbara Smith

Horses are essential in hippotherapy, a form of neuromuscular therapy that can improve the posture and coordination of a child with disabilities.

Horses are special animals and their healing powers have been recognized for thousands of years. Hippos is the Greek word for horse and hippotherapy means the therapeutic use of horses. But hippotherapy shouldn’t be confused with therapeutic riding — hippotherapy is a medically based treatment tool, whereas therapeutic riding involves teaching people with disabilities equestrian skills. Although Hippocrates first mentioned using horses therapeutically in his ancient Greek writings around 400 B.C., it wasn’t until the 1960s that physical therapists (PTs) in Europe began using horses to help patients with neuromuscular disorders such as cerebral palsy or brain injury. Physical therapists believed that the horse’s movement created neurological changes that helped improve a person’s postural control, strength, and coordination.

Read more on Parents.com >>

Iron Chef, Dysphagia Style

By Melanie Potock

Picadillo ground beef from the Dining With Dysphagia cookbook.

What do a coconut-milk-infused shake, spicy risotto, and macaroni and cheese have in common? They are just a few examples of the winning recipes from a cooking competition created for people who have difficulty swallowing. Sampled by professional and celebrity chefs in New York City, these culinary creations were developed by students taking Interdisciplinary Care-Based Management of Dysphagia.

Read more on the ASHA LEADER BLOG >>

7 Surprising Baby Safety Mistakes You Might (Still) Be Making

By Tamekia Reece

September is National Baby Safety Month. Check out these surprising “don’ts” that many parents still do.

Picky Eating Prevention Plan

With Nancy Ripton, co-author of Melanie’s baby book, Baby Self-Feeding

Many times parents don’t worry about picky eaters until it’s too late. Once you already have a picky eater, it’s much more difficult to change the way your child looks at food. The good news for parents who haven’t yet started solids is that you can do a whole lot to prevent picky eating by the way you introduce first foods. 

Read more on Just the Facts Baby >>

5 Tips to Make the Kitchen Connection for Kids with Autism

By Melanie Potock

As a speech-language pathologist specializing in pediatric feeding treatment, I work mostly with kids, food and creating happier mealtimes for families. I often find the kitchen is the heart of the home, where parents are most relaxed and where we can build relationships with kids with autism, especially if they are hesitant eaters.

To help SLPs and parents embark on their food adventure, I offer five tips to make the kitchen connection for kids with autism.

Read More on The ASHA Leader Blog >>

 

The Cooking Connection

By Melanie Potock

I once had a client with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), age 10, who had a history of picky eating and feeding difficulties. He also had an affinity for movie production logos, from the iconic roaring lion that represents MGM to the letters and swing-arm white desk lamp that form the Pixar logo. Based on my experience with tackling such feeding difficulties, I sought to merge his interest in logos with exploring new foods.

Read More on The ASHA Leader Blog >>

Seven Surprising Things You Can Do at Home to Help Your Child Eat New Foods

By Melanie Potock

1. Explore Food away from Meals: Use food for other purposes than eating to increase the child’s exposure to the food in fun, interactive ways.  For example, learning to match colors with orange carrots & red bell peppers gets those nutritious foods in your child’s hands and that’s a safe, fun place to start!  Here’s a video demonstrating that process.

Read More on Generation Rescue >>