In my nutritional support clinic I see children from 1 – 18 years of age whose nutritional intake is limited due to physical, medical, surgical, behavioural, sensory or developmental problems. Nutritional support can be described as the provision of extra calories, protein and nutrients in an easy to consume way to improve nutrition, growth and development. Products, supplements, formulas or equipment such as nutrition drinks, desserts, powders, vitamins & minerals or feeding pouches may be used to enhance nutritional support. Infants up to 1 year of age are best seen in my infant feeding clinic, where focus on the earlier aspects of milk feeding, introductions to solids and infant development.
During an appointment in my nutritional support clinic, I conduct a dietary assessment in the first instance. This will consider the extent of presenting difficulties, identify where nutritional gaps are and finds the most appropriate way to provide nutritional support to meet a child’s needs. I regularly link with other paediatric professionals and facilitate onward referral to colleagues with a variety of training and skills. These include accredited clinical psychologists, neuro-developmental psychologists, family therapists or speech and language therapists. Behavioural, sensory and developmental difficulties are often involved with very limited food intake. Examples of medical and diet related conditions include:
- Behavioural difficulties eg. social, emotional aspects around food including aversion, extreme food refusal, anxiety, highly selective eating
- Sensory and physical difficulties eg. tastes, textures, smells or appearance of foods, dyspraxia
- Developmental difficulties eg. oral motor difficulties, communication and cognitive development
Children with more complex feeding needs eg. extreme food refusal and severe growth faltering are best approached from a multi-disciplinary team of paediatric professionals via Cambridge Paediatric Practice.