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Harry learns how to enjoy mealtime

Published 1st May, 2018

2-year-old Harry Padmanabhan has Global Developmental Delay and is learning how mealtimes can be fun with the help of Therapy Focus’ specialist MEAHLS team.

Sitting in the family dining room, Harry reaches for the boxes on the table in front of him and opens one with a great delight in his eyes. Squealing with happiness, Harry cuddles the moose puppet that was in the box.

The box game was provided by Harry’s speech pathologist, Danielle Cottam and helps make dinner time fun. Harry’s mother Patricia said he chooses which box to do and there was a variety of activities in each that are associated with food.

Patricia was referred to Therapy Focus following a recommendation from Princess Margaret Hospital. She said that Harry is only able to eat soft and dissolvable foods because he cannot chew. His food slides down his throat too quickly and he needed help.

“Harry has always had eating problems and I would talk to people saying that things didn’t feel right and this wasn’t just a toddler problem, but I never felt heard,” Patricia said.

“The early intervention we received from Therapy Focus has been really helpful and getting the right support for Harry’s mealtime needs was fantastic. It made us feel like what we were watching was real and we felt listened to for the first time,” she said.

Therapy Focus’ MEAHLS Team have provided Patricia with a chewing toy and a whistle to assist Harry in strengthening his jaw and getting him used to the swallowing action. They are also trialling thickening liquids to help Harry’s body recognise the difference between solids and liquids, and to support nutrient absorption.

Patricia said that Harry had made great progress thanks to the collaborative efforts of his therapy teams and specialists.

He’s made great progress with his milestones and his improvements have gotten faster and closer together,” she said.

“Our therapists have been amazing in terms of the emotional support at the sessions. Offloading my stuff and feeling really listened to meant I could talk and really feel supported.”

Harry is about to start receiving support from Therapy Focus’ specialist continence team, the PEBBLES Team, and Patricia said she was happy to have the services working closely together.

I like that therapists and specialists at Therapy Focus all work together so if something is happening, they can all talk together and work it out. Being able to get it all in one place and having a multi-disciplinary team, has been so valuable to us.

Patricia Dadd

Harry and hi mmum using his chewing toy
Pictured: Harry using his chewing toy

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