Paediatric Feeding Specialist

Debra’s Story

As a working mum with two young girls who had busy after-school schedules, I faced the challenge of nutritious breakfasts, healthy school lunches and wholesome dinners every day. I worried that they were eating too much packaged food and not enough fresh vegetables. I tried new meals with mixed results and I had days when I would throw my hands up in the air and we would have toasted sandwiches for dinner. Once we even had pancakes with ice-cream. That was a huge hit! Without leftovers we would never have survived.

So when I started my practice in 2009, specialising in feeding difficulties in babies and children, I knew that a non-judgemental attitude, realistic expectations, achievable recommendations and easy to follow strategies were paramount.

Eating is a life long journey. Like any journey, there are sometimes challenges along the way. Feeding difficulties can be very stressful. Progress can happen in a matter of days or weeks or can be slow and steady. What matters is that you are heading in the right direction. I see my role as guiding you in the right direction, supporting you to take the small steps and celebrating each step along the way.

I am now the mum of two busy teenagers. We are still trying out new meals and learning about new and different foods. We are still on our own food journey. 

 

 

Experience

Having graduated from Stellenbosch University, South Africa in 1996, I worked in New Zealand and the UK where I completed additional post graduate training in paediatric feeding.

On arrival in Sydney in 2003, I chose to specialising in paediatric feeding difficulties. I have worked at Sydney Children’s and St George Hospitals. I have extensive clinical experience in working with babies, toddlers and children with a range of feeding difficulties. In my practice I use a responsive feeding therapy approach. This includes reducing stress at meals and increasing both family connection together with variety of foods eaten. I attend regular professional development and have training and clinical experience in a range of paediatric feeding areas, including:

  • fussy eating
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders and related feeding challenges
  • Chewing and swallowing difficulties
  • Medical conditions such as gastro-esophageal reflux, brain injuries, cleft lip and palate conditions, cerebral palsy, chromosone deletions and syndromes as well as premature babies who have resulting feeding difficulties
  • Sensory Processing difficulties that impact on feeding
  • Breast and bottle feeding difficulties

I am also a co-Director of “Feeding Therapies Australia”, a professional development company aimed at training allied health professionals in Feeding Therapy.

 

Paediatric Feeding Specialist

Alyssa’s Story

I am a working mum with a busy and very energetic toddler. The introduction to motherhood has been profound for me. Navigating early feeding and toddler eating as a parent has been a whole new experience; especially when it doesn’t go to plan. My daughter required some support early in her solids journey which at times was scary and full of worry, and other times have been exciting and special- almost all times have been messy and full of learning for us all.

 

My own experience with demanding mealtimes and the stresses that come with being a parent wanting the best for their child has helped me be a better speech pathologist. I am a firm believer in family-centred practice and working in collaboration with families towards achieving goals that make a difference in the every day. I hope to help support you on your own food journey- encouraging and celebrating along the way. 

 

Experience

I graduated from the University of Sydney and have almost a decade of experience in a variety of peadiatric settings. I have worked in clinics, early childhood/preschools, primary and secondary schools, playgroups and community health settings. I have extensive experience in disability support, in particular supporting individuals on the autism spectrum with communication and feeding strategies. I have a wide range of training in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) supports and have spent the larger part of my career so far working in collaboration with families and their support teams. More recently, I graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Masters of Teaching (Primary Education) while juggling a six month old, as I constantly strive to build my knowledge base to be a better clinician. 

Unit 2, 10 Gymea Bay Rd, Gymea NSW 2227

0432 995 457

Landline: (02) 7209 4021