Responsive Feeding Therapy:
How the RFT Framework Can Enhance Your Practice

The foundational webinar series has added so much depth to the way I work. The values are just so helpful for guiding families towards change and for not losing sight of the bigger picture.

Simone Mossop, Paediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, Early Intervention Feeding Practitioner

Course Overview:

Maybe you’re an SLP, OT or RD and you’ve been doing feeding work for a while, or you’re new to the field…

Sensory play or desensitization – or simply letting the child decide what to eat -doesn’t feel like enough.

Perhaps you want to build on your core skill-set and deepen your practice.

Maybe you sense that for a significant group of children, what you’re doing isn’t getting at the whole picture.

The RFPro team have all been there. Early in our careers, we knew we were missing opportunities to help children heal their relationships with food and to empower parents to support the process.

Connecting with colleagues, developing and working in the RFT framework was what we were missing.

In this series of six webinars you will explore how the RFT values of autonomy, relatedness, competence, intrinsic motivation, and whole child care:

  • empower parents to support healing for children who seem to progress in therapy but stay stuck at home.
  • offer new opportunities for assessment and treatment.
  • increase your comfort and confidence working with children and parents.
  • provide a cohesive framework for your work with children and families.
  • help you discover and address obstacles to progress that your families may face.

DURATION:  9 hours provided in 6 sessions of 1 1/2 hours each
CERTIFICATES:  Information below

Session one - Peace, Love, and Understanding: Responsive Feeding Therapy, the Origins, the Journey, and the Future

Presented by Jo Cormack PhD, MBACP  

RFT centres on the application of responsive feeding concepts in a clinical setting. Before the core elements of RFT are considered in this webinar series, this initial session looks back at how the term ‘responsive feeding’ gained traction, how it came out of the responsive parenting literature, and how it has been developed clinically.  From the field of self-determination theory, the three basic needs of autonomy, relatedness, and competence will be introduced, as well as what they mean for feeding. Finally, there will be a glance to the future, as research directions and clinical implications are discussed. Feeding professionals will get some valuable context for RFT as well as the opportunity to think about different definitions and interpretations of the term ‘responsive.’

Session two - I Did it My Way: Child Autonomy in Responsive Feeding Therapy

Presented by Jo Cormack PhD, MBACP

Autonomy is said to be a basic need essential to intrinsic motivation. It is at the heart of a responsive approach to feeding and there is a wealth of research evidence demonstrating what happens when children’s eating is externally rather than internally (autonomously) driven. This session will examine WHY parents may find it hard to give their child autonomy and how practitioners can work with this. Feeding professionals will learn about helping parents gain insight into their responses and unconscious processes, how to help them recognise that these may be getting in the way of child-autonomy, and what they can do instead. There will be a focus on working with parental expectations because parental feeding goals can interact with non-responsive practices that block autonomy. Whether working directly with parents or not, it is necessary for feeding professionals to appreciate the relational aspects of feeding challenges; a nuanced understanding of child-autonomy is essential to supporting the feeding relationship. 

Session three - What’s Love Got to Do With It: Relatedness in Responsive Feeding Therapy

Presented by Katja Rowell MD

Feeding is by definition relational, and humans are wired for connection. Beginning with attachment, adding recent learning about neurobiology and development points towards a theory of regulation and co-regulation as pivotal to wellbeing. This session will explore the importance of self-regulation for health, feeding and digestion, and then expand to consider how adults can offer co-regulation to support healthy feeding. Feeding professionals will learn concrete steps to offer co-regulation to children as well as their parents. Co-regulation and cue-based feeding has been utilized in pre-term infant feeding. There’s plenty of research suggesting it’s time to extend a relational focus for feeding beyond infancy. 

Session four - I Believe I Can Fly: Skills and Confidence in Responsive Feeding Therapy

Presented by Heidi Liefer Moreland MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, CLC and Jennifer Berry MS, OT/L

In order to be competent in feeding, children need to feel safe, enjoy positive relationships around food, enjoy mealtimes, and be allowed to develop skills at their own rate. This means that children need to be able to respond to their body’s cues confidently and develop their own preferences as their skills mature. Parental competence is important as well, as they learn to support children as they grow and change. This course will cover the importance of presumed competence, the benefits of building on strengths instead of targeting weaknesses and ways that therapists can help families provide scaffolding/support for kids in a timely way.

Session five - “I'll tell you what I want, what I really, really want...” : Intrinsic Motivation in Responsive Feeding Therapy

Presented by Heidi Liefer Moreland MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, CLC and Jennifer Berry MS, OT/L

When a child has eating differences, loving caregivers and well-meaning professionals often try a multitude of strategies to get them unstuck. Unfortunately, strategies and therapies often move ahead with the focus of getting children to eat through external motivation. Instead, therapies and interventions should be focused on helping a child discover internal or intrinsic drives to eat. When children learn to trust, understand and be intrinsically motivated to eat, skill development improves and progress is lasting. In this course, we will explore the natural intrinsic motivations to eat, their importance, and practical strategies to help children and families uncover the internal drives to eat. 

Session six - All of Me : Considering the Whole Child in Responsive Feeding Therapy

Presented by Katja Rowell MD and Jo Cormack PhD, MBACP

This session will discuss a  whole-child lens to feeding challenges. We begin with a brief reminder of child factors to consider (sensory, growth and nutrition, medical concerns…), then examine the interplay with the family and wider community. How might food insecurity, ableism, cultural feeding practices, or weight stigma impact a child’s eating? Real-world examples show how looking only to the child for assessment or treatment misses important opportunities for healing. We will examine definitions and models for integrative care from related fields and offer tools and assessment tips to help you see the whole child. 

 

COST:  $315 $157.50

At checkout there is an option to make three monthly payments of $105 $52.50.

 

  • Group rate is $267.75 $133.88 for three or more. Please email admin@responsivefeedingpro.com for a coupon code.
  • Equity rate is $50 $25. If you consider yourself to be part of a marginalized community or are struggling financially, please email admin@responsivefeedingpro.com for a coupon code.
  • Student rate is $50 $25. Student email address required.

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Katja Rowell MD

Katja Rowell is a family doctor, author and responsive childhood feeding specialist. Described as “academic, but warm and down to earth,” she is a popular speaker and blogger and has appeared in numerous publications. Katja has developed an expertise in anxious and avoidant eating (including ARFID), food preoccupation, and supporting foster and adopted children and families. Katja is on the SPOON medical advisory board and founder of The Feeding Doctor. Her books include: Helping Your Child with Extremely Picky Eating: A Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Selective Eating, Food Aversion, and Feeding Disorders.  Learn more about Katja at The Feeding Doctor.

Jo Cormack PhD, MBACP

Jo is a feeding dynamics specialist, researcher, and registered therapist. She helps families of avoidant eaters with the relational and emotional aspects of food and feeding. Jo is also an award-winning writer on feeding and completed a PhD in psychology. Her research area is parental feeding practices in the context of avoidant eating. Jo is the author of Helping Children Develop a Positive Relationship with Food (Jessica Kingsley Publishers). She trains and supervises feeding professionals and is interested in helping clinicians from diverse disciplines draw on psychological and psychotherapeutic theory in their practice.

Heidi Liefer Moreland MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S

Heidi is a speech therapist and feeding specialist with Thrive by Spectrum Pediatrics.  Heidi is a self-proclaimed “research geek”, but also has 30 years of practical experience in working with children.  For the last 25 years she has specialized in working with children who have feeding challenges in a variety of settings.  Relying on her training in communication, childhood development and feeding and swallowing development, Heidi helps children develop a trusting relationship with food that allows their skills to flourish.  She loves helping children and families work together to develop happy and healthy mealtime communication and habits that will last and grow as they do.   Heidi supports families virtually and in-person and is a frequent speaker on pediatric feeding treatment nationally and internationally.

Jennifer Berry MS, OT/L

Jennifer Berry is an occupational therapist and feeding specialist with Thrive by Spectrum Pediatrics. Jennifer has more than 2 decades of experience helping children overcome challenges they face when it comes to eating. Using her extensive knowledge of learning, sensory processing, attachment, and motor skill development, Jennifer facilitates children’s abilities to trust, understand and relate to food now and long into the future. Coaching parents into confidence around feeding their kids and family mealtimes brings her great joy and impactful results to the families she serves. Jennifer supports families virtually and in-person through family mealtime coaching, remote responsive feeding therapy, and the Thrive by Spectrum Pediatrics Feeding Tube Weaning Program.