The purpose of this study was to examine caregivers' perceptions of feeding disorders in their young child who also had a co-occurring developmental disability (DD).


Using interpretative phenomenological analysis, eight caregivers of children with DD and pediatric feeding disorder (PFD) were interviewed. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed for the lived experiences of caregivers. Thematic analysis, member checking, and an audit were completed by three researchers.


Three themes emerged: Parenting Journey, Emotions and Repercussions, and Winging It. Results indicated caregivers struggled to find appropriate professional help, referenced lack of confidence in the professionals designated to help, and were often ambivalent in approach to the PFD. Indications were that parents were frequently retelling past experiences as they presented the narrative of the feeding disorder and, as such, created narratives that became part of their present and the future experiences when feeding their child.


Implications for speech-language pathologists are considered. Particularly, interventions that go beyond the immediate environmental variables of the feeding or mealtime environment are considered, including the application of this analysis to necessary psychological flexibility for caregivers of children with PFD.


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