Get your kids to eat more…without having them eat a thing!

Hey everyone

Right now I have a lot of kids on my caseload with complicated feeding disorders- I was thinking about them this weekend and wanted to share some really valuable information that not many parents would expect to hear: eating may not be the first step with feeding difficulties. When kids come into our offices, lots of the them will not even tolerate touching the food. If they won’t touch it, how am I going to get them to eat it? Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLPposted a really great article with tips on the American Speech Language and Hearing Association’s blog. Here are some of her tips to get kids to eat more just via learning about food: 

  1. Still Got Easter Eggs?  The plastic ones, that is.    Take the 2 halves and line an egg carton with red, yellow, green and/or orange eggs.  Cut up fruits and vegetables into dime-sized pieces and practice matching colors.  Each time your child picks up the new food, tell him “Red tomato with Red Egg!” and help him find the red egg so he can drop in the tomato.  Now you have a kiddo who is picking up all kinds of fruits and veggies, even the slightly wet, cut-up pieces, which many kids hesitate to touch.
  2. Pop in a DVD.  Copy-Kids created a DVD of adorable kids eating fruits and vegetables, “because children learn best from other children.”  Sit down and watch it with your child, along with a colorful snack tray of bell peppers, broccoli, avocado, blueberries…you get the idea.  Keep it positive and don’t emphasize the eating part.  Just pick up the same food you see on the TV and say something silly about it.  Roll it down your cheeks and talk about how it feels.  Give it a big kiss and proclaim your love for orange, red, yellow and green peppers!  It’s not always about biting into a new food – that comes later.  But, if taking a bite happens in the course of playing and watching a silly DVD, then that’s terrific!
  3. Create Your Own Food Network Show with your kid as the host!  If the best he can do is direct the show behind the camera while you cook, that’s still a great start.  At least he’s in the kitchen, interacting with the food (albeit from a distance)  in a positive, fun way.  Later that evening, invite the whole family to watch his creation together and serve the food you made on film.  Soon, he’ll be hosting the show and cooking new dishes while you operate the camera.
  4. Watch More TV.  Before you think I’m obsessed with television, let me share 2 terrific resources that will help your kids explore new cuisine.  The Good Food Factory is the Emmy award-winning kids’ cooking show televised in California.  But, you can still watch vintage episodes as well as 2 newer episodes on line.   Or, check out the tiny tasters on the Doctor Yum videos.  Created by a pediatrician, the website includes lots of how-to videos featuring kids doing the cooking.  Using videos to introduce the joy of food to your kids is just that – an introduction.  Afterward,  head to the grocery store.  Pick out that new produce you saw on a Doctor Yum video – like a prickly pear or a lychee or a dragon fruit.  Cut it open…take a lick…one thing might just lead to another!
  5. Make Handprint Pictures Using Purees.  First, include your child in the process of making the edible “paint” puree.  Anything will do: yogurt, pudding or even cauliflower blended to a smooth paste.  Add a touch of color to the cauliflower by using natural food dyes or blending in real food, such as carrot juice or spinach leaves, letting your child pick up the spinach and add it through the safety top of the blender.  Spread the puree onto a cookie sheet or flat plate.  For the child who is tactilely defensive, you may notice that he will touch the puree with either just the side of his thumb or the tip of one finger.  That’s a fine place to start!  Over time, he’ll progress to tolerating his entire hand flattened into the plate of puree and then, pressing  his messy little hand onto paper to make a handprint.  For ideas on various animals you can create with hand or even footprints, click here.



Here is the link to the original article, hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!



Google to Begin New Autism Research Project

Hey everyone,

I found a really interesting article this weekend! google is going to be starting a new research project working on genome sequencing. The hope with this project – which aims to provide genome sequencing to 10,000 individuals- will help to diagnose specific genetic markers for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I am embedding the video into the post so you can see the director of the program talk about what wonderful things the program seeks to discover. Read all about it below and check out the video too!‘cloud’-genomic-breakthroughs


Happy summer everyone 🙂


The Swallowing Doc!

Hi Everyone

I found a really great blog this week talking all about dysphagia- or swallowing disorders. I thought I would share these techniques that are used to minimize the risks of choking or aspiration in patients:

1. Take a small bite or a single sip of liquids. Sounds simple enough, yeah? Multiple swallows, serial swallows we call it, are dangerous if you have dysphagia. Too much liquids in the mouth at once and you are at big risk that some of it will find your airway before you are ready. For that reason, I highly recommend taking a single sip from a cup or glass. No straw and only a single sip at a time.

2. Do not mix solids and liquids. Taking a bite of solids and then taking a sip of liquids is a recipe for disaster. This is one of the most common causes of aspiration. You are trying to control solids and liquids in your mouth at the same time. The liquids will find their way down faster than the solids every time. And when they go down before you are ready to swallow, your airway is unprotected. So try to take only enough food that you can swallow without needing liquids to wash it down.

3. Make sure your mouth is clear before you take another bite. This is another preventative measure that helps keep food from pocketing or building up as you complete your meal. A good rule of thumb is after every two bites, take a sip. And always keep in mind technique #2. This usually keeps everything functioning nice and clear.

4. Stay upright for 30 minutes after eating. This is always a good rule for people with reflux. Many dysphagia patients have material that pools around the airway instead of going promptly into the esophagus. By staying up after a meal, you give it time to go down without going into the airway. And just a reminder, if you can’t sit up all the way to eat, try to stay up as close to 60 degrees as possible.

Want to learn more? check out the link below!




Valedictorian Graduates with 4.0…but that’s not all!

Hey everyone,

I came across this article today…all about a Valedictorian with a perfect grade point average…who also has autism. Montel Medley graduated Surattsville high school and plans to attend Towson in the fall. In his graduation speech he stated that, “Having a disability doesn’t mean you have a disadvantage, sometimes it can be an advantage.” What an amazing story! The article also talks about how Montel matured throughout high school especially when it came to acceptance of himself. Everyone take a look below…what an amazing story!


Food Jags

Hey everyone

The American Speech Language and Hearing Association just posted a really great article on their blog about preventing food jags. Food jags are when a child chooses to eat the same thing, at the same time over and over. Whats the big deal? It makes it harder to change there dietary repertoire! So everyone read up!


–Steph Epstein

Using an I-pad in the high school band!


Hey everyone!

Hope you all had an awesome Father’s day! I could not wait to post this amazing article I saw on the NPR blog this weekend! It is all about how special need kids are playing in a high school band by using their I-pads! Just another great usage of an I-pad in the special needs world! It is going on at a public school in Fresh Meadows, New York-hw awesome is that? The school is actually not far from our lake success office! Everyone take a look!


Special Needs Prom!

Hey everyone

With the end of the school year coming up I thought it would be fun see what has been going on in schools across the country…the most common articles were all about senior proms. The article below is about a prom too…but for kids with special needs! The message behind these proms is that every kid gets to feel like a king or a queen! Read up all about it below 🙂