Our post today is a special guest blog entry from Dianne Lazer.Dianne is a speech language pathologist and certified orofacial myologist in Cherry Hill, New Jersey where she specializes in pediatric speech, language, swallowing and feeding disorders. She is also one of the authors of a series of four nutrition books for children: Ryan Fights the Green Monsters, Roneet and the Fairy Princess Who Helped Conquer Her Fears of the Green Monsters, Michael and the Birthday Party and What’s the Scoop on Poop. The books are designed to help children between four and eight years old change their eating habits. Today she is sharing her story of why she wrote the books. We would like to thank her for guest blogging for us!
Many of my patients were eating mostly processed foods high in sugar and limiting the food they did eat to mostly carbohydrates that allowed them to gain weight but were lacking in essential nutrients that would keep them healthy. Their parents were misinformed about what was included in a healthy meal. I found that many of my patients either had food allergies or where sensitive to many types of foods that caused them to have chronic illnesses like ear infections, congestion, eczema, constipation, etc. that interfered with their communication and feeding and swallowing skills. When I looked at what they were eating, it became clear that there was a big problem and helping them advance textures and varieties of solid foods and keeping them healthy could be changed very easily through educating them about healthy foods. If parents only knew that what they were feeding their children were empty calories and actually causing most of the common ailments their children were suffering, maybe they would look at things differently and offer them a better selection of foods at their meals.
I searched high and low for picture books for the 3-8+ age group and didn't find anything that would work. So, I decided to make up a story of my own with the help of a pediatric gastroenterologist and nutrition counselor that would teach both children and their parents about healthy eating. The books have been a lifesaver in therapy and have helped my patients and their parents learn what is involved in eating a healthy meal and why it is important not to eat too much "Sad Sugar and the Nasty Family Foods" because they can make people sick! The books start off the therapy process on the right foot and allow me to work on healthy foods right from the start. Children and parents have to learn why this is important and once they learn the facts, they try harder to like Molly Mellon's fruits, Mr. Green Bean's vegetables, Pat Protein's, Goody Grain's and Frieda Fat's foods.
Right now, we are also working on completing The Green Monster Game that will go with the Roneet and Ryan books and The Green Monster Healthy Recipe Book to help busy parents prepare meals for special diets with easy, fast and healthy recipes so they are not so overwhelmed when the doctor says their child has to go on a dairy and/or gluten free diet.
- Dianne Lazer, MA, CCC-SLP/COM, Lic.