Café Cole: What Parents Need To Know
by Elias Malespin Marketing Coordinator
(We continue our interview series with Courtney Hescht, M.S. CCC-SLP and Cole’s feeding expert)
What do we need parents to know when they come to us?
We let them know it’s a process. Every child moves through the goals at a different pace. It’s really difficult to give some kind of prognosis for because it has a lot to do with how well you follow through with therapy at home. It’s a very sterile environment to come here to our clinic and be fed in the therapy session; it needs to be able to roll over into the home.
I’ve heard the term “failure to thrive”…what does it mean?
It means they’re not gaining weight at a consistent rate, in accordance with their body size. Sometimes a patient’s aversions have gotten so great that they have to go on a G-tube because they’re starving, they’re not growing and they’re experiencing “failure to thrive.”
It’s all based on their growth rate. If a child has always been in the 15th percentile, he/she won’t be expected to grow as someone in the 60th percentile. However within your child’s specific growth rate, if they’ve lost a couple of pounds when they should have been gaining, that would be failure to thrive and we get referrals from physicians because of this failure to thrive, the child has lost weight and they need us to build their caloric intake. So they come to us and a lot of times it ends up being something like a food aversion, where they’re not getting calories because of their aversion to food. They’re not as interested in food.
So we analyze what the parents are feeding them to try to maybe curb that into something that is a little more motivating and has higher calories. If, for example, I’m feeding them baby food, then I might add a little butter to their mash potatoes, so that’s their normal puree but I’m adding butter to it and increasing the calories; or I could add avocado or if they’re of an appropriate age: peanut butter. Those are all good fats and have high calories, so you’re not building in French fries, you’re building in things with more nutritional value.
If you watch the video below, you will see a clip from one of our feeding therapy sessions! Our next blog post will cover Oral Aversions, so stay tuned!