Fall Updates from Florida

It’s hard to believe that October is almost here! Fall is approaching and I am already looking forward to the Holidays. It’s been a whirlwind year as I have travelled across the US and met so many therapists, both at national conferences and at my seminars.

I’ve been busy too at Florida Hospital for Children where my fulltime work allows me to touch so many families. I am amazed how much learn from them along the way. I reconnected with the father of one of one of my NICU babies, Carter, who was a 24 weeker, and is thriving at home and growing like a weed. Feeding is fun they tell me, as he plays with food on his high chair tray and eats off his little hands. That’s what I like to hear. Maybe I helped through the early guidance I offered at feedings in the NICU, building trust and supporting positive experiences that wired his brain toward, not away from, feeding. And now his success makes my day.

October is my last teaching series in 2014 and I am headed to Chicago. It is always heartwarming to return to the Midwest, where I spent much of my life until relocating to Orlando 5 years ago. I do hope I miss the snow, though I know from past experience it can snow in October in Illinois!

I’ll start teaching again in May 2015 and you’ll have plenty of advanced notice about where I will be and when. My break from teaching allows me to recharge, to spend some time relaxing, enjoy more Florida sunshine, reconnect with my family, including my German Shepherds, and write a few manuscripts to submit for publication. And I’ll be working on next year’s teaching schedule, too, and staying connected with all of you! If only there were more than 24 hours in a day!

In November, I am excited to be presenting at ASHA in Orlando on Cue-Base Feeding, with a focus on developing and sustaining a cue-based feeding program in the NICU. Like any other program we service, it requires our dedicated care and ongoing nurturing to continue to grow. In the NICU, how we cultivate our partnership with nurses and neonatologists is critically important, for each interaction about, and with, feeding matters. It matters to the infant’s brain and to the infant’s relationship with the family, and to long term feeding outcomes.

The challenges are there for all of us as we continue to problem-solve how to best support infant-guided feeding in the NICU. I especially look forward to meeting SLP colleagues after the session or when we pass in the conventions center and sharing our passion for helping the infants, children and families we are fortunate to support.

Enjoy the season ahead and stay in touch!

Catherine

Brain Oriented Care in NICU 2014

I wanted to share with those of you who are part of an NICU team or provide services for NICU graduates an article that was just published. Those of you have an interest in neuroprotection for fragile adults will also find it interesting. 

Bader, L. (2014) Brain-Oriented Care in the NICU: A Case Study. Neonatal Network Sept/Oct 2014, 263-267 (Brain Oriented Care in NICU 2014)

Brain-oriented care, or neuroprotection, is fairly new to the NICU, yet as the author states, neuroprotection encompasses all the interventions that promote development of the brain. Because our NICU infants are wiring their brains outside the womb, every experience matters. Especially when it comes to feeding. The author makes the connection to infant-guided feeding, an approach we all need to advocate minimizing the physiologic stress associated with learning to feed in the NICU, and indeed after discharge. Unfortunately the physiologic stress that many NICU infants experience when fed using a volume-driven approach instead, can wire the brain away from feeding. The feeding outcomes of NICU infants, which are poor, make it imperative that we be a part of the change in our NICUs to listen to the infant’s communication and provide the relationship-based care, especially  with feeding, that allows the preterm infant’s brain to wire in an adaptive not a maladaptive way.

I hope you find this informative.

Catherine