Whitley White was recently discharged from the Intensive Feeding Program, an inpatient program that helped Whitley come off her feeding tube, expand her diet and reduce anxiety related to mealtimes.
Speech-Language Pathologist, Meg Gutmann, says that Whitley was evaluated for the program during her outpatient treatment. Based on the progress she had made in outpatient therapy, her willingness to try new food and drinks, and the fact that she had plateaued in efforts to get off the feeding tube, she was admitted to the program.
“Eating can lead to a lot of anxiety for kids with feeding disorders,” Meg explains. “Eating is innately social, and having feeding difficulties can be very isolating and result in children often feeling unheard. Early intervention to understand behaviors and ensure children are receiving appropriate medical attention to make feeding safe and comfortable is vital in long term success.”
Whitley’s mother, Brandy, is bringing her daughter home with hope.
“Whitley has made great progress. We have understood what is going on with her in much greater depth in the three weeks she was in the program than we have in six years,” Brandy shares. “Previously, I felt like it was easier for doctors to leave her on a feeding tube than to slow down and figure out why she was on a feeding tube.”
“The resources Bethany Children’s provided helped identify medical and psychological issues that contribute to her feeding disorder,” Brandy says. “It was hard for me to realize that sometimes kids with feeding disorders need psychological help, and that my daughter couldn’t just get over the feeling of being scared. As a mom, understanding what is going on with your child is the most important thing. Before coming here, it was very difficult knowing my daughter was having these struggles and no one could make sense of them.”
Brandy feels that the team at Bethany Children’s utilized every resource available to help Whitley be successful.
“The care for Whitley surpassed my wildest dreams! Love and kindness come from all departments. The doctors, therapists, teachers and nurses truly love what they are doing and are so passionate about connecting with and caring for your child,” she says. “You are not a number here, you are heard and treated as a part of the team. I am grateful the Lord has placed this opportunity in our lives.”
Whitley will continue with outpatient psychological, occupational and speech therapy to help maintain the progress she has made. She will also be monitored by a dietitian to ensure she remains on track with her oral feeding.
Meg says, “the hope is that all the children in this program can come off the gastric feeding tube with all supports in place to maintain their new habits for a lifetime.”
We are sending Whitley home with much love and support and look forward to her continued progress at home!