WHO CAN HELP
WHO CAN HELP?
There are different professionals who may be able to help you, depending on your needs and the availability of services in your area. Here is a list of health professionals who work with children and/or adults who have eating problems. Usually you will have to go to your GP to get a referral to these services.
Clinical psychologists are concerned about a child or adult’s behaviour, emotional and social development and/or other mental health issues. They work with families to develop strategies that reduce anxiety and make mealtimes less stressful. They may work directly with a child or adult to help extend their range of foods using relaxation, visualisation and graded tasting programmes.
Dieticians are concerned with a person’s dietary intake and whether it is meeting their nutritional requirements for good health. With a child, this includes monitoring growth over time. Dieticians may prescribe dietary supplements as well as provide special diets for people with allergies or specific medical conditions.
Gastroenterologists are doctors who specialise in problems of the digestive system. They are concerned with how food moves through the body, how it is absorbed and how waste products are removed. A child or adult may be referred to a gastroenterologist to diagnose and treat the causes of weight faltering, gastric-oesophageal reflux, constipation or diarrhoea.
Hypnotherapists help people to overcome phobias and anxiety. A hypnotherapist is able to teach relaxation and visualisation to reduce fear of new foods and anxiety about mealtime situations.
Occupational therapists are concerned with how children and/or adults are able to carry out tasks of everyday living. They look at the person’s functional skills and provide aids to help them. This includes looking at the child’s sensory processing and providing activities or adaptions to the environment that will help a child function better.
Paediatricians are doctors who specialises in children’s health conditions, growth and development. As well as providing their own care and treatment, they will look at the child’s needs as a whole and co-ordinate services to meet these needs.
SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPISTS
Speech and Language therapists are concerned the communication and eating and swallowing skills of children and/or adults. After an assessment of a person’s eating and drinking, they will recommend the food textures that can be swallowed safely and that will develop oral skills. In addition, they look at sensory sensitivity and provide sensory desensitisation programmes.