Heidi Moreland MS, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, CLC is a speech language pathologist, and certified lactation counselor, and a Board- Certified Specialist in Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders. She specializes in working with families and children who struggle with eating or learning to eat. She started as an early childhood educator and has been practicing as a speech pathologist for almost 25 years. She is the clinical coordinator and a treating therapist at Thrive by Spectrum Pediatrics. Her passion is helping children and families connect and find joy in food and each other.
Heidi has taught graduate level courses in communication, swallowing and related disorders. She is a frequent speaker on eating and swallowing development and treatment in children and is a co-host of the Tube to Table podcast, and the upcoming podcast, Love, Eat, Thrive. She is also one of the authors of the Responsive Feeding White Paper and an RFPro Team member.
We asked Heidi:
Who are you?
I am a wife, an aunt, a sister, a therapist specializing in feeding and communication, a parent mentor, an educator, a researcher, a student supervisor, a writer, and a friend.
What do you do?
I specialize in children who are feeding tube dependent or have complex feeding problems, and also help families sort through mealtime struggles and miscommunications when feeding difficulties have a less medically complex start. I am also the clinical coordinator of our program, helping with insurance reimbursement, communication with other medical providers, evaluation and treatment planning and execution, and follow-up care. I develop parent training materials and work with families to expand their confidence in eating, communicating, and enjoying their time with their child both in and out of mealtimes. I coordinate the data collection for our research and work on research publications on the effectiveness of Responsive Feeding strategies in the development of skills for eating and eating competence.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
My two dogs, Pippa and Sully, and morning walks or runs with my husband on the trails near our house. Once I’m moving, my work with children and families is the driving force that keeps me going.
I love the life change that happens when a child moves into the freedom of learning to eat (or talk, or walk or read) and the look of pride on their faces when they realize that they are “doing it,” instead of watching from the sidelines.
The connections that are strengthened between children and families are life-changing and I love knowing that I played a small part in their family’s story of overcoming challenging circumstances and turning that into a story of resilience instead of a feeling of failure.
What is one thing you would like ALL professionals working with feeding to know?
We all want to help so much that it’s too easy to let our own knowledge get in the way of what the children are telling us. They are all capable of so many things – if we just give them the chance! If we can start by letting them know that their communication is valuable to us and that they are loved the way they are right now, we gain their trust to help them move from where they are to someplace new. Then if we can shift our focus to removing barriers to success and providing opportunities for small victories in the right direction. In this way, we can enable and empower children to overcome challenges in a way that works for, and feels right for them.
Every interaction matters. If we are going to leave a legacy to the children and families that cross our paths, let’s choose to make their relationships stronger, their confidence greater, and their resilience deeper.
How can folks find out more?
Check out our work at www.ThrivewithSpectrum.com or follow us on Instagram and Facebook . Also look for our podcast Tube to Table and the upcoming Love, Eat, Thrive on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.