Monday, June 30, 2014

India: Behind the scenes with Beth

 From Beth's perspective: 

"As a volunteer field educator for The SPOON Foundation, I went to India to teach orphanage caregivers the most optimal feeding practices to use with special needs children.. I was in two cities Pune and Bangalore. I conducted 2-3 day seminars with practicums at 4 sites. In general the information was received well and the lead caregivers were extremely optimistic about training those in the “trenches” on the new techniques and philosophy. The most challenging feature of the project was undoing the feeding practices that had been used for years. Typically special needs children are feed on the floor in a supine position, with the caregiver positioned behind the child’s head. The spoon that is generally used is larger than a tablespoon, and the consistency of the food is pureed. This feeding technique has resulted in  decreased intake, choking, aspiration, frequent pneumonia and even death in children living without permanent homes. The rate of malnutrition of children in institutions in India is also very high. The caregivers who feed these children are typically very well intended, however, due to the number of children and the schedule of meals, they are very rushed and mechanical in the task. It is common for one caregiver to be responsible for feeding up to 5-8 children within the one designated meal hour. The resources including input from trained therapists or the availability  of appropriate adaptive equipment and seating is very limited. Subsequently children are fed in a very unsafe, unengaged manner. Observing these feeding practices was heartbreaking and truly very hard to observe. I gently guided the caregivers to adjust their positions, utilize what little seating they have and engage in responsive feeding practices.  Besides getting the proper nutrition, meal times are typically happy interactive times with family, friends or coworkers. I thoroughly enjoy a long protracted meal at the table with my family, connecting and catching up with one another. These children never have this type of experience. How incredibly sad."

                                                                      -- Beth Williamson, Clinical Director

Beth hopes to return to India by the end of the year. Stay tuned for more updates and adventures as they come.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Beat the Heat with Water!

Summer is officially here. The temperature is high and the sun is always up.

Here are a few good ways to get the kids outside while staying cool.

Water is fun!

Bring out the spray bottle, eye droppers, turkey baster, and squirt guns!

Set up a car wash with toy cars, or the real thing.

Draw all over the pavement with chalk, then wash it off with one of your favorite water toys.

Freeze washable paint and water together in ice cube trays to create ice cube paint. Use it to draw on paper or the pavement.
Find or make a water table for buckets of splashing fun!

All of these activities incorporate fine motor strengthening and coordination, and visual motor integration components. 

Play alone or bring a friend, these fun activities can encourage cooperative social play skills

ALWAYS remember to stay safe with....
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat to cover the head and face
  • Lots and lots of water for hydration

Monday, June 2, 2014

Beth goes to India!

We are proud to announce that our very own Clinical Director and occupational therapist, Beth Williamson, has officially embarked on her journey to India to assist the SPOON Foundation. If you recall, one of our speech language pathologists and co-founders of SPOON Foundation, Michelle Rudzinski, shared a blog ( about the purpose of SPOON in collaboration with Fiesta overseas.

 So far, Beth has been hard at work presenting lectures to caregivers in orphanages on nutrition, feeding, and positioning. The focus of her time in India is to provide training, equipment, care, and advocacy for children in the orphanages who have special needs.

She has just completed a week in Pune, India and will be moving on to an orphanage in Bangalore, India today. Stay tuned for more pictures and stories about Beth's time in India.