For those of you who missed the episode on ARFID that aired on Sunday night week before last here's the link.
I watched it Monday night and have to say that it stirred up a roller coaster of emotions in me.
It is totally unacceptable that children go blind due to vitamin deficiencies in NZ. And yes I appreciate that it's super hard for some children to eat, I work with them one on one so totally get that side of it. But surely we should have systems in place to support parents?
In my experience not only are systems not in place to aid children who struggle to eat but much of the time there is a total lack of awareness about their issues.
Parents on the other hand are usually very aware when there is a problem beyond just normal "fussiness". I speak to parents daily who intuitively know that something is wrong. Often they have spoken to Plunket, and their doctor on more than one occasion. Many have also seen dieticians and/or psychologists. These parents are not sitting back they are just struggling to find help.
It is part of the reason I began working with children with more extreme issues. There is just not the help out there and I know from my experience that the earlier we tackle this the better. Resolving issues whilst they are still pre-schoolers gives children the opportunity to re-learn to eat widely and they can flourish physically and emotionally as all children should be able to.
Watching the program just brought home how woefully under-equipped we are in NZ to deal with a problem that affects a shocking number of families. There are so many kids who may not be quite as extreme as those officially diagnosed with ARFID but still their daily lives are a constant struggle and their parents are forced to sit by and worry as they just can't find the help they need.
Perhaps this is a crusade that needs to be led ...
Judith is passionate about good food and is even more passionate about enabling other people to enjoy the wide variety of fresh food available today.