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Helping Your Child with Extreme Picky Eating: A Step-by-Step Guide for Overcoming Selective Eating, Food Aversion, and Feeding Disorders Paperback – May 1, 2015
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―Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, EdD, licensed teacher, parent educator, and author of Raising Your Spirited Child
―Jessica Setnick, MS, RD, CEDRD, pediatric eating disorder specialist, cofounder of the International Federation of Eating Disorder Dietitians, and author of The Eating Disorders Clinical Pocket Guide
―Katherine Zavodni, MPH, RD, LDN, registered dietitian specializing in outpatient nutrition therapy for eating disorders, family nutrition and childhood feeding, and intuitive eating
―Erin Erickson, MPH, MN, RN, founder and cohost of Mom Enough®
―Marsha Dunn Klein, MEd, OTR/L, FAOTA, pediatric therapist, educator, author, and co-owner of Mealtime Connections, a pediatric therapy clinic in Tucson, AZ
―Skye Van Zetten, blogger at mealtimehostage.com
―Jennifer Meyer, MA, CCC-SLP, cocreator of care-to-collaborate.com, and popular international speaker in the areas of pediatric dysphagia and neonatal therapy
―Maryann Jacobsen, MS, RD, author, blogger, speaker, and coauthor of Fearless Feeding
―Christine J. Schimmel, EdD, NCC, LPC, assistant professor of counseling at West Virginia University and author of numerous texts and articles on impact therapy, a multisensory, creative approach to counseling and group counseling
―Catherine S. Shaker, MS/CCC-SLP, BCS-S, pediatric speech-language pathologist at the Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando, FL, and coauthor of “The Early Feeding Skills Assessment Tool for NICU Infants”
About the Author
Jenny McGlothlin, MS, CCC-SLP, is a certified speech-language pathologist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of feeding disorders for children from birth through the teen years. McGlothlin developed the STEPS feeding program at the Callier Center for Communication Disorders at University of Texas at Dallas, where she works with families on a daily basis to foster feeding skills that will serve a child for a lifetime. Her passion is teaching children how to eat when they just can’t figure it out on their own, and McGlothlin has been inducted into the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Hall of Fame for her work in the field. McGlothlin has spent many years teaching graduate-level courses on feeding as well as early child development. She frequently provides feeding workshops for parents and continuing education seminars and webinars for therapists. As a mother of three young children, McGlothlin makes family meals a priority, and enjoys reading and spending time with her friends.
Foreword writer Suzanne Evans Morris, PhD, is an internationally recognized speaker and therapist for infants and children with feeding and mealtime challenges. With more than fifty years’ experience as a speech-language pathologist specializing in feeding development and disorders in children, she pioneered the development of feeding and mealtime programs in the United States. Morris is coauthor of three books: Pre-Feeding Skills, the Mealtime Participation Guide, and the Homemade Blended Formula Handbook.
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At the time of writing this review, I have a two-year-old boy in feeding therapy. Contributing to his feeding problems are sensory issues, airway issues, reflux, and an oral motor delay. I read these books looking for support in standing up to doctors who’ve been pressuring me to use methods I’m not comfortable with, and for strategies I can implement at home to improve the carry-over of feeding therapy skills.
JTaB is written by a behavioral therapist and an occupational therapist. HYCEPE is by a family doctor and a speech pathologist. All four specialize in pediatric feeding disorders. The books cover much of the same information, share some guidelines, and both have suggested activities in the second part of the book.
While HYCEPE is clearly written for parents, JTaB is targeted towards both parents and therapists. It’s a bit more technical, which I like but others might not. There is more detailed information on sensory and oral-motor development. HYCEPE has some of the same information but it’s jumbled up with tidbits like this: “Family meals are a time to pass on family stories, traditions, and culture – and to laugh and spend enjoyable time with your children.” That’s nice, but it has nothing to do with my son’s eating problems. I prefer JTaB’s more to-the-point approach.
Both books agree that coercing a child to eat is counterproductive, but HYCEPE takes this to an extreme. They have two full chapters about avoiding even a hint of pressure, as well as constant warnings throughout the rest of a book, and they seem to think that pretty much every attempt to get a child to engage with food is pressure. Here’s an example from the section called “Play with Your Food”: “Playing a game with the agenda of increasing your child’s comfort with food can backfire.” Huh? If increasing my child’s comfort with food is not my “agenda” then why am I even reading this book?
They go on to advise, “At the first sign of anxiety or resistance, let it go and move on to an activity she enjoys.” I understand where they’re coming from if working with a neurotypical picky child with a sensitive temperament (one of the authors has a child like this). However, their strategy would not work for my son, who is predominantly *under*sensitive and whose food aversion has more to do with feeling unsafe with food than feeling pressured by adults. I spent months making different foods available on his tray, day after day, with no pressure to touch or eat them. He made no progress during that time.
The approach in JTaB is more compatible with the SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) approach which my son’s feeding therapist uses. Although HYCEPE apparently considers it too coercive (they don’t name SOS but they describe the process), the child is never punished, bribed, or forced to do anything. He is taken to the edge of his comfort zone to look around, but is not pushed past the edge. HYCEPE would prefer to leave a child in the middle of their comfort zone and wait for them to venture out. Again, that may work with a typical child, but those who’ve had their feeding development stalled by medical problems or disabilities need a more hands-on approach.
Although as I said JTaB is more on the technical side, the authors acknowledge parents’ emotions around their children’s eating in a very validating way. I felt supported in my choice to keep mealtimes a positive experience. The book helped me create a more structured and supportive mealtime schedule/routine which really seemed to help my son. I also realized that some of his issues I thought were motor-based are actually proprioceptive.
A final note on layout. HYCEPE is a standard sized book with standard type. JTaB is textbook sized with double spaced lines and lots of white space on each page, which makes it easy to highlight or take notes in the margins. The information in JTaB is clearly organized and easy to refer to, with charts and tables.
If you have an older child whose pickiness is behavioral/temperamental and not complicated by developmental or medical problems, HYCEPE will probably be more helpful. If your child has developmental delays, sensory or oral-motor issues, or GI problems, you’ll probably get more from JTaB. I fall into the latter category.
Amber ("The Observant Mom")
It seems that most people who give advice on feeding picky eaters have never had to care for one themselves. Too many pediatricians, grandparents, friends, etc. just have the same advice..."if the kid is hungry enough he will eat what you serve," or "cut out the junk food and he will get hungry for healthy food." Unfortunately, that doesn't usually work with true picky eaters. These authors have been in the trenches with parents and have found a system that works. The best part is that their advice doesn't make you feel like a horrible parent who just didn't try hard enough. I cannot say enough about how helpful this advice is.
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