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 >>

Understanding Autism: Restaurant Meltdowns

By Melanie Potock

I sat in a popular restaurant chain and watched an 8 year old boy have a major meltdown at his table. His mother cringed as lunch time patrons stared. An irritated couple at a nearby booth got up and moved, but only after glaring at the mother. I’ll be honest, the child was disrupting my lunch too, but one thing I suspected was that this child had autism. He appeared to be just like any other child, but the intensity of his outburst was out of proportion to the issue he was yelling about: The waiter had served him waffle fries and he had expected “skinny fries” just like the french fries served at home.

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 >>

The Great Pouch Debate: Pros, Cons and Compromising

By Melanie Potock

Brace yourself. We are about to talk about pouches. You know, those little packets of convenience, filled with all sorts of fruits and vegetables, sometimes with a little chia or quinoa mixed in. Parents love them, kids push up the puree and suck it right down in a flash, and speech-language pathologists get all in a fluster about them.

Let’s chat about the pros, the cons and a few compromises in the great pouch debate among parents and those of us who treat clients with feeding challenges. The benefits seem obvious to parents, but as a pediatric feeding specialist, I’m not a big fan of those plastic bags of puree. Why? It’s just too much of a good thing. Let’s examine the pros and cons of feeding kids via pouches on a daily basis.

Read more on the ASHA Leader Blog >>

12 Ways Real Parents Won Over Their Picky Eaters

If you’ve ever tried serving a meal from a cookbook with a name like Dinners Picky Eaters Will Devour! and your child wouldn’t take a bite, well … welcome to the club. Picky eating is pretty common. And because picky eating among young children is so common, a lot of people have spent a lot of time looking into it. To find some of the best tips to help children expand their food repertoires, we partnered with PediaSure® and asked parents of formerly picky eaters (some of which also happen to be nutrition, food and feeding experts) for their advice:

Read More on The Huffington Post >>

Three Reasons Why Kids Get Hooked on “Kids’ Meals”… and How to Change That

By Melanie Potock

Let me say this up front: I’m not condemning the American Kids’ Meal that is so common in fast food chains and family restaurants, but clearly I’m not keen on eating that type of food when there are other choices.   My own kids have certainly had their fair share of chicken nuggets, mac n’cheese and French fries, just to name a few of the comfort kid foods that predictably reappear on kids’ menus day after day.   This is not a blog about good vs. healthy nutrition, because most parents (including me) know that the traditional fast food fare is not healthy…and that’s exactly why parents want to change the statistics that 15 percent of preschoolers ask to go to McDonald’s  “at least once a day.”  

Read More on The ASHA Leader Blog >>

Finger Foods for 10-Month-Old Kids

By Rosenya Faith

She’s about to take another leap toward independence, and it’s going to get messy. Finger foods help your little munchkin develop new skills and explore through new tastes and textures. You’ll probably be able to tell when she’s ready for more when you find her reaching for the spoon at feeding time and trying to swipe food off your plate. Until she gets good at feeding herself though, get ready to take plenty of pictures of her adorable food-covered face and be prepared for lots of floor scrub-a-thons.

Read more on Mom.me >>

Ten Tips for Making Progress in Feeding Therapy

By Melanie Potock

The end of a year is a reflective time for many parents, especially those who have children in any type of therapy.  As a pediatric SLP who focuses on feeding, I asked over forty parents for their number one tip that helped their child progress through feeding therapy.  I found it interesting that typically what popped into their minds wasn’t an oral motor tool or a specific therapy modality or other tips like “practice, practice, practice!”  What struck me was that most parents focused on an emotional component.  When we consider the bond between parent and child, that makes perfect sense.  I learn so much from the parents of the children I treat and I’m grateful for their wisdom. Here are the Parents’ Ten Tips for Making Progress in Feeding Therapy.

Read More on The ASHA Leader Blog >>

Solutions for School-Day Breakfasts

By Natalie Hammer Noblitt

Many consider it the most important meal of the day, but a healthy and filling breakfast can get lost in the shuffle while rushing everyone out the door for school and work. Retailers can help parents and kids find satisfying options that will jumpstart young minds and provide go-to foods they’ll come back for throughout the year.

Read More on The Gourmet Retailer >>