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Inspiring Conversations with Kayla Richardson of Abeille Speech + Feeding

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kayla Richardson.

Hi Kayla, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Shortly after graduating with my Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology, I began studying to further pursue my education in the area of Feeding Development and Feeding Therapy. I was lucky enough to gain training in this niche area of practice early in my career, but the experiences I had as a mother struggling to feed my own children is what truly shaped me into the therapist I am today.

After parenting two children born with tongue ties and oral dysfunction, and one with severe food intolerances, my eyes were opened to how little support was available to parents who had children struggling to feed. I knew I had to create a space for this in our community. In August of 2020, I opened the doors to Abeille Speech + Feeding Therapy to provide support to parents in children in all stages of their feeding journeys. We are set up to support breastfeeding, bottle feeding, transitioning to solids, picky eating throughout childhood, and feeding tube weaning.

A recent study showed that 89% of parents with young children are stressed about dinnertime, but an overwhelming amount of parents also report they feel unheard when raising concerns about feeding to their child’s doctor. We also know that more than 1 in 37 children under the age of 5 in the US is affected by a Pediatric Feeding Disorder. My goals are to empower parents with practical strategies that they can implement at home and help them feel confident every step of the way.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The biggest challenge in addressing feeding challenges in young children is overcoming misconceptions about what is “normal”. There are so many red flags for feeding disorders that have been normalized in our society over time. Some examples are infant reflux and “colic”, pain during nursing, extended use of purees, and picky eating. Usually, by the time a parent finds me, they have had multiple medical professionals tell them that what they are experiencing with their child is normal. We work tirelessly to educate parents, medical professionals, and others in the community so we can raise awareness that there is help available.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Abeille Speech + Feeding ?
I take a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to treatment of pediatric feeding. Not only do I have training in feeding therapy and lactation, I have worked to build a team of providers around the St. Louis area to address all areas that could be having an impact on a child’s feeding development. We look for providers who are dedicated to finding and treating the root cause of the medical problem rather than treating symptoms.

Feeding skills are developed within a relationship from the time of birth. It is common in Lactation to treat both the parent and the baby, but this idea is widely ignored in bottle feeding and beyond. There is a huge impact that can be made when we educate, coach, and empower parents to support feeding development. Abeille Speech + Feeding takes a parent coaching approach with all of our cases. Parents are always eager to learn and help their children, and they can be the most powerful source of change when given the right tools.

Abeille Speech + Feeding specializes in treating infants and young children with a variety of feeding problems. Major specialty areas include assessing and treating oral dysfunction related to tongue and lip tie, supporting breastfeeding and early oral function in infants and toddlers with Down Syndrome, and addressing early signs of airway and myofunctional disorders.

Pricing:

  • Evaluation: $325
  • Treatment: $125
  • Phone Consultation: $25/15 mintues

Contact Info:

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