Nutritional difficulties in children with a learning disability; parents perceptions
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background- Nutritional difficulties have primarily been described in children with a learning disability and require effective nutrition management to help parents overcome mealtime problems and meet dietary needs. Methods- Face to face interviews with parents of a child with learning disabilities were conducted to explore and identify the key themes among participants. Results- The main findings of this study reveal that the key areas of nutritional difficulty include food preference, environmental setting, medical and physical conditions and issues regarding weight. Consequently, strategies to overcome these difficulties used by parents involve: a reduced or increased calorie diet, behavioural strategies and a modified diet or adapted feeding. The need for continued dietetic input and nutritional support after childhood and adolescence was highlighted by parents. Conclusions- Parents of children with learning disabilities play a key role in dealing with many nutritional difficulties. The support and information provided by a dietitian is valued by these parents. Evidence based advice administered is effective for the nutritional management of children with learning disabilities. There is a need for dietetic guidelines involving the recommendations for the nutritional difficulties established in this specific participant group.
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