Tag: tube feeding

How a Simple Teal Pumpkin on Your Porch Can Make a Difference for a Child on Halloween

Halloween celebrations always include dressing up in a costume and candy! I have so many little friends who excitedly anticipate Halloween night and trick-or-treating, including my little friends who have severe food allergies, are on special diets for medical reasons or are unable to eat food by mouth and are supported by tube feedings. The parents of these children work tirelessly to provide and support typical childhood experiences as much as possible. As children get older, they learn about childhood cultural traditions that siblings, cousins and friends do and they want to join in the excitement also.

A fun-filled Halloween night of trick-or-treating can turn into pure disappointment when candy buckets are dumped and sorted upon returning home… Only to realize that from the large loot gathered, you can only safely eat or keep a few of the treats or none at all! Everything else must be thrown away or worse, given to your siblings to eat!

You can help with some very simple things to make some of these children have an enjoyable Halloween and minimize the disappointment. Join the Teal Pumpkin Project!

Set a teal pumpkin on your porch! A teal pumpkin is a sign to families of children with food allergies and feeding difficulties that your house will be handing out non-food treats… stickers, pencils, small toys, glow sticks, temporary tattoos, etc. Many of you are already doing this, but let those families know with your teal pumpkin so they can add another house to their route of safe houses they plan to visit with their children.

My friend, Ryder, loves to dress up in theme with his parents every Halloween. Last year, he dressed up as Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon. His mom and dad dressed up as Vikings. He loves walking the neighborhood and joining in the Halloween fun. Ryder has an extensive list of food allergies and sensitivities that prohibit him from eating all but a very short list of foods. So, it comes to the point that he cannot safely eat ANY Halloween candy. How a Simple Teal Pumpkin on Your Porch Can Make a Difference for a Child on Halloween

His mom, Kim, loves the Teal Pumpkin Project and puts a teal pumpkin on their porch every year. She makes sure she has non-food treats to hand out to trick-or-treaters. When they went trick-or-treating last year in Morgan, Utah, they didn’t see any teal pumpkins in the neighborhoods they were in. Kim wishes more people handed out non-food treats. Ryder loves stickers, little toys and bubbles. Fortunately, Ryder has a sweet grandma that prepares a special non-food treat package for him every Halloween.

Confession: Several years ago I decided to plan ahead for Halloween and buy bulk bags of candy (mostly chocolate since that’s my favorite), but I ate almost all of the candy before Halloween came! Now I buy my non-food treats early and and candy last-minute to avoid my chocolate addictive behaviors! Win-win for any candy addicts like me!

My daughter loves painting a teal pumpkin and insists on adding her own artistic flair. She is excited to paint another this year to set out on the porch to signal anyone who prefers non-food treats. My sons make sure we still hand out candy for anyone else (or eat it themselves before any trick-or-treaters arrive). How a Simple Teal Pumpkin on Your Porch Can Make a Difference for a Child on Halloween

A few tips to keep in mind:

  • Set your teal pumpkin out before Halloween night so families can plan to make it to your house.
  • Keep food and non-food items in separate containers to avoid allergens touching the non-food items.
  • Avoid non-food items with latex or wheat. Some clays contain wheat.
  • If you don’t have time to paint a teal pumpkin, click on this link to download and print out a free sign at food allergy.org. Or if you’re interested in making a donation to the Teal Pumpkin Project, FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) will send you a Teal Pumpkin Project window cling.
  • You can also add your house address to the Crowd Sourced Fever Map on food allergy.org to let others in your area know you will be participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project.

For more information on the Teal Pumpkin Project, visit foodallergy.org.

Teal and orange compliment each other well, so use both colors for front-porch pumpkin decorating! You can make such a difference for a child who struggles with feeding difficulties with this simple change in your Halloween decorations and treats handed out on Halloween night!

April 2016 Tube Feeding Support Group with Marsha Dunn Klein

If you can make it to April’s Tube Feeding Support Group for families of “tubies” (the affectionate nickname for those fed by feeding tubes), you are definitely in for a treat! If you would like to learn more about this support group for families, you can visit my original post, Tube Feeding Support Group in Utah.

Marsha Dunn Klein, an internationally-known occupational therapist specializing in feeding, will be the guest speaker for April’s Tube Feeding Support Group!

I’ve attended a couple of Marsha’s conferences for feeding therapists and own some of her books she has co-authored in my feeding therapy reference library. She shares great and helpful information and does so with sincere compassion, understanding and enthusiasm for families and children with feeding difficulties. I’ve always found Marsha a delight to learn from!

Don’t miss this discussion with Marsha Dunn Klein on April 21, 2016 at 6:30 pm at Primary Children’s Hospital on the 4th floor in the Millcreek Conference Room! You may contact Garrett, the parent support group leader, with any questions at 801-554-0184.

Tube-Feeding Support Group in Utah

UPDATE: June’s Tube-Feeding Support Group will be held Thursday, June 30, 2016 at 6:30 pm at Primary Children’s Hospital on the 3rd floor in Classroom D & E.

I’m excited to share the only tube feeding support group that I’ve ever of heard of in Utah in my 15 years as an occupational therapist treating children with feeding difficulties! I’ve worked with many families whose children cannot eat enough by mouth and have no other option than to place a feeding tube so their child can get the nutrition they need. Sometimes this lasts only a few weeks, but many children require tubes for many years to even life. Feeding tubes are a wonderful medical advancement that have saved millions of lives, but I have always been acutely aware of the emotional bombshell for every family when a feeding tube is considered, placed and then sent home to become their own child’s tube feeding expert. This group will be a great resource to help families affected with this overwhelming process.

Our community has many great families with wonderful knowledge and perspective that are willing to share with others in the same situation. For healthcare professionals, it is an almost impossible task in our current healthcare environment of privacy, time and budget constraints to logistically coordinate connecting parents who can support each other. I’m thrilled we have great parent advocates in our community willing to launch this support group!

This tube feeding support group will be run by parents of children with feeding tubes. Garrett is the parent support group leader and father of a daughter with a feeding tube. He has been a tenacious advocate for his own daughter, Lucy, and has extended that tenacity to the larger community of families who have children with feeding concerns. Garrett has also been involved with Feeding Matters, an advocacy organization for children with feeding struggles. Lucy has struggled with eating by mouth since she started eating solid foods as an infant and currently has a G-tube for her nutritional intake.

If you are interested in learning about Lucy’s feeding story, here is a link to a short video: Meet Lucy.

Topics will initially range from navigating the insurance system, to finding and sharing feeding resources, to effectively collaborating with healthcare professionals (doctors, feeding therapists, dieticians, etc.) for the benefit of children with or who are in the process of the placement of a feeding tube. This support group is primarily for families to share and seek support without the pressures of healthcare professionals’ judgment that may be present in other settings.

The second meeting will be Thursday, March 31, 2016 at 6:30 pm at Primary Children’s Hospital on the 3rd floor in Classroom D & E. They are currently planning to meet once a month.

Garrett has graciously provided his phone number if you have questions. He can be reached at 801-554-0184.

If you know of other community resources in Utah for children with feeding difficulties, please share!