I qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2009 and have since completed my Advanced Practitioner Level 4 in Sensory Integration. My experience includes assessing, developing sensory diets, providing direct intervention and training for children and young people with sensory processing difficulties. I currently work for a leading children’s charity based in Hull, East Yorkshire and North East Lincolnshire, within a Paediatric Therapy Service specialising in Sensory Integration Therapy.
We assess many children with underlying sensory processing difficulties and associated feeding difficulties. Difficulties have included selective eating, food refusal, eating of non-edible items, liquid only diets and challenging behaviour relating to eating. In the past we have always referred to our local services such as the Nutritionist, Dietician and Speech and Language Therapist for additional support and guidance. However, were these presenting feeding concerns more directly linked to underlying sensory processing difficulties? If so, was this something we could address directly during our sensory integration therapy sessions. This led to me booking onto the Feeding Difficulties and Sensory Issues course led by Isabelle Beaudry Bellefeuille.
Over the years I have gained an understanding of the difficulties families face trying to get their child to eat and how this issue is a priority to many. My goal was to further develop my skills which would enable me to deliver best practise and meet the needs of the children and young people I work with. The course was extremely informative and practical, which I feel is so important for therapists who are hands on clinicians. Isabelle provided many opportunities for us to practise and refine the practical strategies, demonstrating them first through a range of case studies. Isabelle’s passion to support children with feeding difficulties really inspired me to get straight back to work and start exploring these difficulties with the children and their families.
I have already been able to put the theory and practical strategies I have learnt into practise. Feeding difficulties are now being further explored as part of the sensory integration assessment and intervention and parents are pleased with the recommendations provided. I am really looking forward to noting the changes after direct intervention. As eating is such a vital part of our lives, to know that I am able to make a positive contribution from the knowledge learnt really makes me glad that I attended the course.