When we tell people that we are dietitian's that work with kids and people living with disabilities we are often met with confused faces. “What do you mean you don’t work in weight loss?” “What do you mean you don’t just talk about the 5 food groups?”.
Sure we do help people with weight management and we do talk about the 5 food groups but being a Paediatric and Disability Dietetic Service involves working with people who have an array of different requirements, different barriers to eat or drinking and often very rare and unique conditions. Put simply, we see lots of different people for lots of different reasons.
Here's an A to Z of some of the things we help clients with.
Extreme food selectivity is very common among people with autism. We help families to introduce new foods and increase nutritional quality
Many of our clients are being breastfed or are breastfeeding mums. We support breastfeeding, help when their might be growth concerns and provide information and meal ideas if mums might need to eat a special diet when breastfeeding
Cows Milk Protein Allergy
A common allergen amongst those < 2 years we help breastfeeding mums eat the right foods and ensure that infants and toddlers get “everything they need and nothing they don’t” when an allergy is present
People who have Downs Syndrome (DS)are particularly vulnerable to weight gain. We help people with DS to learn how to make healthier food choices and be independent with mealtimes
The environment we eat within plays an important role in how we learn to eat and what foods we are likely to eat. We help families to establish positive eating environments to help their kids to be confident eaters
Fussy eating is reported by > 85% of parents who have toddlers. We help parents to learn strategies to manage this and provide them with information about “how much is enough” when it comes to daily food intakes
Nutritional intake plays a vital role in how an infant, child or teen grows. We assess and manage periods when growth might be a concern and help our clients to meet their growth potential.
Whether our clients are overweight, underweight or of a healthy weight; we encourage and promote healthy eating and help in the planning, preparation and eating of healthy menu items.
Children have very high iron requirements (a toddler needs as much as an adult male) and are particularly vulnerable to iron deficiency. We work with doctors in diagnosing and treating iron deficiency.
Jags/ Food Jags
Common among those who have very restricted diets, a food-jag is when a someone will only eat one food again and again. We help manage the nutrition risk associated with as well as support families to move through this.
Simply put, we help kids get the nutrition they need for growth, development and life-long healthy (and happy) eating.
We help kids and adult with learning disabilities to be able to be more independent with mealtimes and selection of healthy foods and drinks
This is caused when someone doesn’t have the right type or the right amount of food; or if their body is unable to use the food they eat. We help prevent and manage malnutrition with an array of different nutritional techniques.
Nutrient deficiencies in early life can lead to long-term problems such as brittle bones, rickets and stunted growth. We help those at risk of; or who have nutrient deficiencies to eat all the nutrients they need.
Overweight and Obesity
We help kids and adults to manage overweight and obesity through a non-diet approach to healthy eating and lifestyle.
Prader Willi Syndrome
A condition with very specific nutritional requirements, we work with clients and their families to meet their nutrition requirements and prevent overweight or obesity.
We help people after a spinal cord injury to maintain good nutrition; those who are unable to eat due to their condition as well as help ensure good growth for kids who have quadriplegia.
A common barrier to good nutrition we help everyone from infants to the elderly who a suffering from this condition.
Those living with a swallowing disorder are particularly vulnerable to poor nutrition. We help people enjoy food that are safe for them helping them to find the right types and the right amounts for their needs.
Many of our clients are unable to eat or are unable to eat enough and require a tube to feed directly into their tummy. We assist in learning how to manage tube feeding, coordinate tube and formula supplies, provide guidance around the type and amount of food or formula and monitor for any tube or feeding complications.
Being underweight places our clients at nutritional risks. We help those who might have lost weight without trying or kids who are slow to gain weight to be their nutritional best.
Vegan and Vegetarian Diets
Meal planning is important to ensure good nutrition when eating a vegetarian or vegan diet. We help our clients to get all the nutrients they need whilst eating foods of their preference
Water and Hydration
Important for all processes within the body, we help our clients to understand how much is enough and to ensure that they are well hydrated by the foods and beverages they consume (or take via a tube)
We work with Speech Pathologist who arrange X-ray’s of swallowing if a client might be having difficulties’ with eating or drinking
Exposure to eggs, including egg yolk in the first 9 months of life can reduce an infants risk of developing a food allergy to eggs. We support parents of infants to introduce new foods, including those of higher allergy risk
An important nutrient for growing bodies, we support clients in understanding sources of zinc and how to enjoy them in their daily diet.