Hi! I’m Courtney Bliss, a pediatric dietitian and a Feeding Matters board member. Last week I was able to participate as a board liaison in Feeding Matters’ PFD Alliance executive council meeting where we discussed all of the amazing work of our staff and volunteers. I’m very excited for you all to see the work we have underway and our next International Pediatric Feeding Disorder Conference (Save the dates now! April 24 – 26, 2024).
In our meeting, we spent time discussing the recent meeting between the avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID)/eating disorder (ED) world and our pediatric feeding disorder (PFD) crew.
In my day to day life, I work as a pediatric dietitian running my own practice supporting families from birth to 21 years old. I have the privilege of supporting individuals with a wide range of conditions, including ARFID, EDs, and PFD. I am lucky to be able to help families with all of these conditions – ARFID, EDs, and PFD. Something that stands out to me working with all three populations is the different approach many providers have when it comes to advocacy.
In my experience and opinion, the PFD world embodies a certain scrappy spirit. When you have to fight for validity for years (especially prior to the official PFD diagnosis in 2019) – there is an unparalleled intensity as we have had to justify our space in the world, to be seen and heard. When you step into the ED world (where ARFID mostly lives) there is a completely different energy. They aren’t trying to prove themselves. The ED provider community is decades into their advocacy journey, and they approach collaboration and advocacy with a more calm confidence. For me, this stark contrast helps me realize how the crossover and confusion of ARFID and PFD continues. Both worlds haven’t been talking with one another.
That calm confidence is something I look forward to our community stepping into for this next season. I think of it as a collective deep breath, a pause before we push again. The consensus paper published in 2019, the diagnosis code(s) released in 2021, our numerous research projects, and the recent consensus meeting with the ED population all underscore one undeniable truth: we are here, and our work matters and profoundly impacts children and families. As we continue to increase awareness in our communities, let’s approach those with a zen-like confidence that comes from being seen. Your work is valid. Your family’s experience is valid.
This will certainly help us reach more families in need of support, inspire more providers to get involved, and accomplish our mission of creating a better system of care for children with PFD.
Thank you for your unwavering dedication to Feeding Matters and for being an integral part of our journey. Together, we are making a tangible difference in the lives of countless children and their families.
Courtney Bliss, MS, RDN
Founder and CEO – Feeding Bliss
Feeding Matters Board Vice-Chair