CRS answers SOS, holds in-state feeding conference

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Children’s Rehabilitation Service recently hosted a four-day conference for assessing and treating children with feeding difficulties and weight/growth problems.

The conference – “Picky Eaters vs. Problem Feeders” – focused on the SOS (sequential oral sensory) approach to feeding, which aims to help rehabilitation professionals better identify oral, sensory, motor, cognitive, and emotional milestones that are instrumental in overcoming feeding difficulties. The conference is led by Dr. Kay Toomey, a pediatric psychologist who created the SOS feeding approach and has worked for more than 20 years with children who won’t eat.

“We’re proud to have brought this conference to Alabama,” said Sonia Cleckler, CRS speech-language pathologist (SLP) program specialist. “Continuing education in feeding therapy is something that has been requested by our SLPs for a long time, and this conference provided a great professional development opportunity for our staff.”

While the first three days of the conference provided a general overview to the SOS approach, the final day focused on three specialty feeding topics: helping children transition off supplemental tube feedings; feeding children with gastroesophageal reflux; and feeding children on the autism spectrum.

Of the 70 registered for the conference, 36 were from Alabama. The remaining 34 participants were from Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. In addition to SLPs, those in attendance included occupational therapists, and registered dietician nutritionists.

“It was a great success,” Cleckler added. “Because of restrictions on out-of-state travel, we wouldn’t have been able to send so many of our employees to hear these great speakers elsewhere, so we brought this conference – which is very popular – to us. We were happily surprised when so many people from out of state decided to join us as well.”

Auburn Montgomery Speech and Hearing Center, Auburn Montgomery Office of Disabilities, and UCP Birmingham sponsored the food for the event.

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