What I do and why I LOVE it!

This post is about me! I want to explain my background and credentials, what an Occupational Therapist (OT) does to help babies, children, and families who have difficulty with feeding, as well as why I love the topic of feeding, eating, and mealtime.

If you've found my site or my blog, I want you to feel confident that you've found someone who is not just passionate about feeding, eating, and mealtime, but also someone who is highly trained and educated on the topic as well. Occasionally another medical professional will have a different opinion from me about how to approach a feeding issue and it is important to understand our backgrounds to know why we might have a different approach.

My credentials (aka, the letters behind my name): OTR/L, SWC, CLE

  • OTR/L: These letters mean that I am an Occupational Therapist registered nationally and licensed through California.

  • SWC: This is an advanced practice designation from the California Board of Occupational Therapy indicating advanced training and expertise in the area of feeding and swallowing.

  • IBCLC: International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. This means I have completed additional training in the area of lactation to support breastfeeding as well as sat for and passed a board exam.

As an occupational therapist I have to maintain my licensure by completing continuing education courses yearly. I have to utilize evidenced-based treatment strategies and I have to stay current on applicable research in my field. I challenge myself to do this by speaking at conferences and writing journal articles. (Most recently I spoke at the American Occupational Therapy Association national conference and I was published in the May 2013 issue of the Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Nutrition). As someone who loves infant development, neuro-anatomy and function, feeding, and nutrition, I am an avid reader on these topics. As a mother and someone surrounded by many families with babies, I try to stay current on what parents need, want, and love.

As an occupational therapist, my primary role is to "help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations)." -American Occupational Therapy Association My chosen focus is the "occupation" of feeding and mealtime and my target audience is infants and children.

Occupational therapist are holistic and we have been trained to look at the whole person in the context of their environment, as well as every aspect of an occupation. When it comes to feeding and mealtime, this is so important because it is one of the most complex and multi-faceted "occupations" that a person will participate in.

  • Feeding engages every one of our sensory systems (site, smell, taste, hearing, touch, vestibular, and proprioceptive- all of them in one way or another!)

  • It requires adept gross motor, fine motor, and oral motor skill coordination.

  • Feeding also is a deeply social and behavioral activity, which is made up of routines, habits and cultural norms, and is affected by temperment.

  • When working in the area of feeding, you must understand the deep ties between health and wellness of the body and digestive tract and how this plays a roll in determining hunger and interest in eating.

  • And let's not forget nutrition!

There are really so many pieces to think about when talking about feeding and mealtime. As a therapist, I have to combine all those pieces with the individual child's strengths, weaknesses and environment. As if that wasn't enough, when working with children, I have to also take into account the strengths, weaknesses, temperment, and daily schedule of the parents and siblings to make every recommendation functional for the family.


-So many of life's most joyful moments happen around a meal-

There are many other very complex activites out there, but another reason that I love feeding and mealtime is that every single person has to participate in this "occupation" every single day, multiple times a day, without fail, for the duration of their lifetime. Success and joy in feeding, eating, and mealtime can have a pervasive impact on our daily happiness.

This sounds excessive and dramatic, but it's true! This is why I LOVE working as an occupational therapist in the area of pediatric feeding, eating, and mealtime. I am constantly kept on my toes, engaged, and challenged. When I hear people say that they know it shouldn't be "that difficult" I get so excited to let them know that, in fact, it is super complex and though it all sort of falls into place most of the time, it can very easily be put off track and so difficult to get working smoothly if it does go wrong. This is also why I have become so so passionate about working with families of typically developing babies and children. I know that with a little bit of guidance, the feeding relationship can get off on the right foot and be successful for life. So much of our health and wellness stems from our diets and our intestinal health. Small changes to how we as a society approach feeding, eating, and mealtime can make HUGE differences in our overall health, our body image, our socialization and our joy. Small successes in my work can bring big satisfaction and health to a family. Yes, this is a lot to swallow. But I get excited when I'm passionate, and this topic makes me passionate!

This post is about me! I want to explain my background and credentials, what an Occupational Therapist (OT) does to help babies, children, and families who have difficulty with feeding, as well as why I love the topic of feeding, eating, and mealtime.

If you've found my site or my blog, I want you to feel confident that you've found someone who is not just passionate about feeding, eating, and mealtime, but also someone who is highly trained and educated on the topic as well. Occasionally another medical professional will have a different opinion from me about how to approach a feeding issue and it is important to understand our backgrounds to know why we might have a different approach.

My credentials (aka, the letters behind my name): OTR/L, SWC, IBCLC

  • OTR/L: These letters mean that I am an Occupational Therapist registered nationally and licensed through California.

  • SWC: This is an advanced practice designation from the California Board of Occupational Therapy indicating advanced training and expertise in the area of feeding and swallowing.

  • IBCLC: International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. This means I have completed additional training in the area of lactation to support breastfeeding as well as sat for and passed a board exam.

As an occupational therapist I have to maintain my licensure by completing continuing education courses yearly. I have to utilize evidenced-based treatment strategies and I have to stay current on applicable research in my field. I challenge myself to do this by speaking at conferences and writing journal articles. (Most recently I spoke at the American Occupational Therapy Association national conference and I was published in the May 2013 issue of the Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Nutrition). As someone who loves infant development, neuro-anatomy and function, feeding, and nutrition, I am an avid reader on these topics. As a mother and someone surrounded by many families with babies, I try to stay current on what parents need, want, and love.

As an occupational therapist, my primary role is to "help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations)." -American Occupational Therapy Association My chosen focus is the "occupation" of feeding and mealtime and my target audience is infants and children.

Occupational therapist are holistic and we have been trained to look at the whole person in the context of their environment, as well as every aspect of an occupation. When it comes to feeding and mealtime, this is so important because it is one of the most complex and multi-faceted "occupations" that a person will participate in.

  • Feeding engages every one of our sensory systems (site, smell, taste, hearing, touch, vestibular, and proprioceptive- all of them in one way or another!)

  • It requires adept gross motor, fine motor, and oral motor skill coordination.

  • Feeding also is a deeply social and behavioral activity, which is made up of routines, habits and cultural norms, and is affected by temperment.

  • When working in the area of feeding, you must understand the deep ties between health and wellness of the body and digestive tract and how this plays a roll in determining hunger and interest in eating.

  • And let's not forget nutrition!

There are really so many pieces to think about when talking about feeding and mealtime. As a therapist, I have to combine all those pieces with the individual child's strengths, weaknesses and environment. As if that wasn't enough, when working with children, I have to also take into account the strengths, weaknesses, temperment, and daily schedule of the parents and siblings to make every recommendation functional for the family.


-So many of life's most joyful moments happen around a meal-

There are many other very complex activites out there, but another reason that I love feeding and mealtime is that every single person has to participate in this "occupation" every single day, multiple times a day, without fail, for the duration of their lifetime. Success and joy in feeding, eating, and mealtime can have a pervasive impact on our daily happiness.

This sounds excessive and dramatic, but it's true! This is why I LOVE working as an occupational therapist in the area of pediatric feeding, eating, and mealtime. I am constantly kept on my toes, engaged, and challenged. When I hear people say that they know it shouldn't be "that difficult" I get so excited to let them know that, in fact, it is super complex and though it all sort of falls into place most of the time, it can very easily be put off track and so difficult to get working smoothly if it does go wrong. This is also why I have become so so passionate about working with families of typically developing babies and children. I know that with a little bit of guidance, the feeding relationship can get off on the right foot and be successful for life. So much of our health and wellness stems from our diets and our intestinal health. Small changes to how we as a society approach feeding, eating, and mealtime can make HUGE differences in our overall health, our body image, our socialization and our joy. Small successes in my work can bring big satisfaction and health to a family. Yes, this is a lot to swallow. But I get excited when I'm passionate, and this topic makes me passionate!

#occupationaltherapy #pediatricot #feedingspecialist #pickyeating #whatdoesanotdo #otforfeedingissues #occupationaltherapistforfeeding

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