Meeting the nutritional needs of children with disabilities and their families
Children with disabilities need adequate nutritional intake to survive and thrive. Many children are at risk and in need of nutritional intervention. This dissertation contains two studies which examined nutritional intervention services for children with disabilities and their families. The first study evaluated the outcomes of thirty-five children and families who received nutritional intervention services. An integrated model of feeding associated with disabilities was developed to examine the findings. Children and families significantly benefited from these services. The second study used qualitative research methods to study families who had made or were in the process of making the decision to use a feeding tube to meet the nutritional needs of their child with disabilities. Data were gathered over a two year period through interviews with eight families. Descriptive themes and issues emerged from the data that led to a greater understanding of what families face in making this decision for their child. Both of these studies can help families and professionals work in partnership before a child becomes severely malnourished or medically compromised as a result of inadequate nutrition.