P126 Pediatric Feeding Disorder Seminar Impacts Students' Attitudes


      To evaluate the effectiveness of a seminar focusing on care for children with disability-related feeding issues.

      Use of Theory or Research

      Adult Learning Theory maintains that adults learn through experience. To gain experience in working with those with disabilities, nutrition majors established the Nutrition and Disability Club (NDC). Since club activities often focus on adults, faculty mentors and the NDC planned an event featuring feeding issues impacting nutritional status and growth of children with intellectual and physical disabilities. Undergraduate nutrition students have little exposure in providing care for this population or the team approach to treatment in coursework, so an extracurricular seminar can meet this need.

      Target Audience

      Undergraduate and graduate students in nutrition and health-related majors.

      Course/Curriculum Description

      A 1.5-hour evidence-based seminar featured presentations by a pediatric hospital's Feeding Team (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Physician, Speech Language Pathologist, and Psychologist). Each provider reviewed their discipline's role and approach to addressing feeding issues in children with autism spectrum disorder, down syndrome, and cerebral palsy. Nutrition majors and students with health-related majors were invited.

      Evaluation Methods

      Immediately following the seminar, participants were sent an IRB-approved survey via email. Before distribution, the survey was tested for face validity and content.


      Of the 138 students who attended, about half (n = 76) completed the survey. Most respondents were undergraduate (n = 71), female (n = 70), and nutrition majors (n = 44). Most students (n = 48) strongly agreed their attitude about working with a child with disabilities improved due to the seminar. The majority (n = 55) responded the seminar had a strong positive impact on their ability to work as part of a multidisciplinary team. Most (n = 59) strongly agreed their understanding of their role as a health care provider improved, and most (n = 59) grew in their awareness of the need for support from other professions.


      An extracurricular seminar can be an effective way to expose students to treatment of pediatric disability-related feeding issues.
      Funding University of Delaware Career Services Center Faculty & Staff Career Innovation Grant.

      Appendix. Supplementary data