Thoughts from the Airport after the ASHA Convention

Published by Jaclyn Pederson, MHI on Nov 20, 2023

This week took my breath away. Something I’m working on in my own leadership journey is taking the time to celebrate and acknowledge success as sometimes I’m moving too fast to do so. And this week while attending the ASHA Convention, Igniting Innovation, I was able to witness first-hand the growth of our PFD movement…and it blew me away. So during the convention, and now with all of you, I am celebrating the moment.

I’ve been around Feeding Matters for a long time, but not always in this position. I was here when our founder, Shannon Goldwater, first presented the idea to create a stand-alone name and identity for the broad spectrum of feeding difficulties in 2015 to our PFD Alliance (previously Medical Professional Council). I was around to coordinate the flights and hotels to make sure leaders were there for the consensus meeting in Phoenix in 2016, around in 2017 and 2018 to help “herd cats” to keep the PFD Consensus publication moving, and around to plan and listen to the community to build a strategy for our PFD identity movement in 2019 and beyond. Even though I’ve been involved in the planning and execution of all of this, I don’t think I fully comprehended the impact that it would create years down the road, like now in 2023. Some dreams are so big they feel like a hazy image instead of a clear picture.

Some dreams are so big they feel like a hazy image instead of a clear picture.

But this week that image became a little clearer. I was in awe as I saw the representation of SLPs specializing in pediatric feeding overwhelm any room they entered, I was proud as I saw discussions of what emerging research is happening in PFD (and it’s a lot), I was curious as I listened in on brainstorming of what is needed to better support feeding specialists. I heard ideas of what we can be doing better and what we are doing well. And overall, I felt overwhelmed at the sheer growth and the familiar way that PFD is now discussed at a non-feeding specific convention. PFD as a name didn’t exist until 6 years ago. Now, it is commonly used amongst professionals from many different disciplines, backgrounds, and geographies including SLPs, OTs, MDs, and many more. I am in awe. It was the stuff of dreams.

If this week is any indication of the many other important disciplines involved in PFD and the direction this entire community, not just our SLP friends, is headed with our PFD movement, we have an unbelievable journey ahead.

Overwhelmed with gratitude and in awe with excitement– that’s how I’d describe the week. Thank you to all of you I saw and to those I didn’t get a chance to say hello to. And thank you for your passion and partnership to turn these big, hazy dreams into reality.