August 15, 2012

New book offers tips on childhood eating issues

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Two educators at Southern Illinois University Carbondale are tackling the common problems that parents can face when it comes to their children being picky eaters or refusing to eat their veggies.

The scarcity of information available for how parents can handle common problems associated with childhood eating is the basis of a book by SIU Carbondale faculty members Deborah A. Bruns and Stacy D. Thompson.  "Feeding Challenges in Young Children: Strategies and Specialized Interventions for Success," offers early childhood professionals and parents practical information, guidance, strategies, and intervention techniques for handling various eating issues.

Thompson, an associate professor in curriculum and instruction, said she and Bruns wrote the book because they found that information and resources on how to handle feeding issues, particularly in developing children, children with disabilities, or at-risk children, was lacking. Bruns is an associate professor of educational psychology and special education, and special education program coordinator.

Bruns and Thompson have extensive research in the area of early childhood feeding. Bruns joined the SIU Carbondale faculty in January 2003; Thompson began her work at the University in August 2005.

Based on the latest research, the book offers specific how-to strategies, along with helpful hints and tools to help those working with children ranging in age from birth through five years old, regardless of the setting. Professional development trainers and faculty, students, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, parent educators, developmental therapists, child development specialists and parents are among those who will benefit from the book, Bruns said.

The goal of the book is to assure better outcomes for young children.

We've included many resources to help professionals and parents in making decisions about feeding," Thompson said.

The book includes a CD, and has information on how feeding issues affect a young child’s overall development. In addition to providing information on assessments, screenings, strategies and interventions, the book provides a guide for a critical element of early childhood development. There is information on topics that range from breastfeeding to specific feeding equipment for special needs children. The book also includes what signals to look for regarding possible feeding difficulties, cultural impacts, interventions for children with physical or neurological differences, and other topics.

The book is available through, or Brookes Publishing online at