Feeding Disorders and Food Insecurity: A 6-Step Action Plan

By Melanie Potock

Feeding disorders affect 25 to 45 percent of typically developing children and up to 80 percent of children with special needs and/or chronic health issues. A “feeding disorder” diagnosis applies to a child who can’t consume a balanced diet of age-appropriate food or liquid to support steady growth and development. When speech-language pathologists and other health care professionals treat a child with a feeding disorder, they work toward improving the child’s ability to eat a variety of foods.

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5 Common Mistakes (and Solutions) When Dealing with Kids’ Chronic Constipation

By Melanie Potock

As a pediatric feeding specialist, my job includes helping kids become more adventurous eaters by working with registered dietitians, physicians and other team members to ensure a child learns to comfortably try new foods. One frequent issue in kids with feeding challenges is chronic constipation. Why? Because picky or selective eaters often food jag on fiberless “kid food” like chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese.

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Picky Eaters: It’s Not About Taste; It’s About Flavor

By Melanie Potock MA

In 1970, I was sitting in my elementary school science class when my teacher put an illustration of giant pink tongue on the overhead projector. Arrows pointed to the four areas of the tongue where specific tastes would be detected: sweet on the very tip and salty on either side of sweet. Sour was found on the outer margins of the tongue and bitter at the very back.

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Top 10 Blog Posts for 2016

By Shelley D. Hutchins

top 10 iconList, lists and more lists. Everyone loves a list and ASHA Leader Blog readers are no different. Your favorite blog posts from 2016 include lists about non-tech gift ideas to promote language, myths and truths about choking, and methods for identifying typical second-language errors. In addition to lists, recognizing auditory processing disorder, working with picky eaters, and a new television show featuring a character using AAC all piqued your interest.

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Three Steps to Parenting in the Kitchen

Did you know that one of the proven ways to connect with your child on a consistent basis is by parenting them in the kitchen? What does that mean, and why is it so important to raising children? Parenting in the kitchen includes encouraging your kids to be a part of mealtime planning, active in food preparation and making regular family mealtimes a priority, even with the youngest kids. Starting early is key to raising children who make sound, safe decisions when they are teenagers. Research from Columbia University shows that children who have regular family dinners with their parents are much less likely to engage in smoking, drinking or using drugs. As a pediatrician and a feeding specialist, we know that creating a family culture where you and your kids connect and communicate around the family dinner table includes involving everyone in the family with these three steps:

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5 Myths and Truths About Choking

By Melanie Potock MA

As a pediatric feeding therapist, I often encounter parents with misconceived notions about choking, especially when their children are between 6 months and 4 years old and just learning to eat a variety of solid foods. Below, I list five common myths SLPs can dispel, along with five truths we can share to raise awareness and keep “learning eaters” safe.

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Typical Picky Eating or Something Else?

March 10, 2016 By Melanie Potock MA

Many children go through a phase of picky eating as toddlers or preschoolers, but what appears to be just a phase might indicate something more serious. At least 20 percent of apparently typical children get diagnosed with feeding disorders. I most commonly treat infants, toddlers and young school-age children; however, increased awareness in the media about avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) caused more parents to inquire about feeding treatment. They often say they expected their child to grow out of the picky stage but, sadly, it’s only getting worse.

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When Egos Collide in Treatment

December 15, 2016 By Melanie Potock

collaborationI stood before the group of registered dietitians and nutrition professionals, around 400 in all, hoping that my message would be well received. As a speech-language pathologist specializing in pediatric feeding disorders, I was honored to be invited to speak at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo with registered dietitian Jill Castle, co-author of “Fearless Feeding.” The 90-minute presentation was sponsored by the Pediatric Nutrition Practice Group and titled Picky by Nature: How Collaborative Care May Optimize Health Outcomes for Feeding Disorders.

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What Is Tongue-Tie?

Could tongue-tie be affecting your baby’s ability to breastfeed? Here’s everything you need to know about this common but often overlooked condition.

Tongue-tied doesn’t just mean being too embarrassed or shy to speak up. Called ankyloglossia in the medical world, it is a condition that occurs when the frenulum — the tissue that connects your baby’s tongue to the floor of her mouth — is too short or tight.

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Pediatrician and SLP Team Up for a Healthy Food Adventure

 Like any modern techno-friendship, I met Nimali Fernando on Facebook. Fernando is a pediatrician who took childhood obesity into her own hands by creating a nonprofit, the Doctor Yum Project, which focuses on nutrition education and hands-on cooking instruction. Her organization successfully taught older school-age children how to cook local seasonal produce. When asked by parents for classes for preschoolers, she decided  to create a nutrition curriculum for schools.