My name is Kimberly Howard. I graduated from West Virginia University with an undergraduate degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology and a Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy.
As I studied to pursue my collegiate goals while living in West Virginia, I identified a lack of resources offered to families in need of feeding therapy for their children. It was at that pivotal moment I took it upon myself to learn more about this essential but unavailable life-changing therapy. After graduating from college, I dove into a career as an occupational therapist and discovered my passion for helping children with feeding difficulties.
Over the last nineteen years, I have worked in intensive feeding therapy programs at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Memorial Children's Hospital in South Bend, Indiana, and Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital. Currently, I work with the Gastroenterology team at Nemours Children's Hospital. Along with Dr. James Franciosi and Dr. Hadeel Haddad, we initiated and implemented a semi-intensive feeding therapy program at Nemours, where the objective is to educate the parents on the necessary feeding techniques and know-how to carry over at home.
In my career as an occupational therapist, I have treated many patients with Eosinophilic Esophagitis. I believe that from a therapy standpoint and as a therapist, it's vital to have extensive knowledge with food allergies and also the ability to explain to a family that the symptoms that the child is experiencing may not necessarily be obvious to them. There are times when a parent is told that their child has oral sensory aversion or behavioral feeding difficulty. Both could be true. As an occupational therapist, it is my job to work closely with the GI team and the families to determine whether the child does have an actual oral aversion, a behavioral eating difficulty, or in need of further medical testing to rule out a contributing diagnosis like Eosinophilic Esophagitis. It's this close collaboration that allows us as therapists to help the child and family move beyond these aversions and behaviors to allow for feeding progression.
Not being able to feed your child due to a medical condition can be extremely stressful for both the child and the parent. No matter how small the step forward or how challenging an obstacle might be to overcome, we will strive to improve the life of your child through this FREoE study—together.
If you have any questions please feel free to reach out. I look forward to meeting you!
West Virginia University, 2001
- Oral motor/feeding therapy
- Infant massage
- NOMAS certified