Monday, August 6, 2012

"You Do Feeding In The Home?"

I presented at the Family Cafe in Orlando in June.  Family Cafe is a wonderful conference that is focused on families that have a family member with a special need.  It is a celebration of all people and a celebration of how we are the same much more than how we are different. 

During the presentation, a parent asked me the question, "You do feeding in the home ?!?!?"  She was amazed.  Apparently the Early Intervention Program that was supporting her family did not do this. 

Here is my puzzlement when it comes to working with families that have a child under the age of 3.  Our main goal should be to help the family and child have a meaningful relationship.  These parents need to be able to feel comfortable parenting their child.  They need to be able to feel that they can meet their childs needs.  And as a therapist, the focus should be on helping them learn any tools they need to support their child.  The worst thing we can do is swoop in with the intention of "fixing" their child.  It's not about us and all the knowledge and experience we may have.  It is about sharing and supporting the family so that they are empowered.

So, yes, I DO do feeding in the home.  But what that looks like is that I am showing the family specific things that they can do during their day that will help their child's feeding skills improve.  Then I come back and check out how things are going.  I may join in with the child and their family eating a snack or meal.  During that time I may see things that I can give them more hints about to help the child inch towards the next step.  Or I may just congratulate the family on the great progress that I see, it just all depends. 

If you are a parent of a child with a speech and language delay under the age of 3 please encourage any professional that you are working with to help you be the parent you want to be.  You need to ask questions, ask for support and then take the lead.  It may be scary but you are your sweet childs parent.  Enjoy your child, have fun with your child, interact with your child and love your child.  You can be the person that is the key to your child communicating better; eating better; sleeping better, walking better, etc. etc.   You can do this.

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