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Feeding as Co-occupation in the NICU Setting

presented by Ashlea D. Cardin, OTD, OTR/L, BCP

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Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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Accreditation Check:

Occupational therapy practice is rooted in supporting a person's participation in valued activities of daily life. Accordingly, our expertise in this area lends itself to the facilitation of meaningful and skillful feeding and eating experiences across the lifespan. Within the NICU context and environment, feeding is much more than the infant's nutritional intake or development of oral motor skill. Feeding is richly and uniquely contexted; there are temporal features, spatial considerations, sociocultural conditions, and shared aspects of the experience. The purpose of this course is to examine the shared, interactive aspects of infant-caregiver feeding. A discussion of the occupational science concept co-occupation is presented and applied to NICU practice. Neonatal occupational therapists will be challenged to view feeding through a co-occupation "lens" and consider how this lens affects feeding at infant, caregiver, and community levels.

Meet Your Instructor

Ashlea D. Cardin, OTD, OTR/L, BCP

Dr. Ashlea Cardin is an Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. She is also a practicing neonatal occupational therapist, having over 16 years' experience in a Level III NICU at Mercy Children's Hospital, Springfield, MO. Dr. Cardin is Board Certified in Pediatrics through the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA),…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

1. Who is our Client in the NICU?

This chapter will define co-occupation as a concept emerging from occupational science and present the concept as central to understanding and maximizing occupational performance in the NICU setting.

2. Frames of Reference in Neonatal Occupational Therapy Practice: Many Lenses

This chapter builds on concepts and theoretical foundations found in OT practice and offers a review of specific “Frames of Reference” used by neonatal occupational therapists to guide assessment, intervention, and outcomes measurement in the NICU setting. The Frames of Reference (FORs) are presented as “lenses” through which we view our clients to capture their narrative and plan meaningful intervention experiences.

3. A New Lens to Consider: The Co-Occupation Lens

In this final chapter, co-occupation is proposed as a new lens for viewing infant feeding. A discussion of feeding at the individual, caregiver, and community level is offered to broaden occupational therapists' view of feeding beyond the bedside evaluation.

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