Everyone wants their kids to eat well and to live healthy, active lives, including parents and professionals caring for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.* At Let’s Go!, we’re committed to making sure all children develop lifelong healthy habits. As part of our commitment to creating strategies and tools that are inclusive of all children, we recently released the Let’s Go! Toolkit for Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) to address this population’s specific needs.
Children with a developmental disability are likely to encounter obstacles beyond those of their peers when it comes to setting and achieving health goals. Challenges can be a result of their underlying disability which may include food sensitivities or motor delays. The places where they live, learn, and play are not always adapted to meet their unique needs. In addition, teachers, service providers, or caregivers may not have the training or experience to offer children the extra support they need to make healthy choices.
With this in mind, we teamed up with a local expert who loves the 5-2-1-0 message and wished the tools were a better fit for her son with special needs; when it came to eating more veggies, she needed specific advice for her very “choosy” eater.
We know parents and many of our partners working with children with intellectual and developmental disabilities have a lot to manage. Between appointments and multiple providers, there’s a lot to keep track of. Consistent, positive messages and coordination of services are critical.
We’re excited to be able to offer tailored strategies and new tools in order to include children with I/DD in our obesity prevention efforts. Our hope is that this toolkit will not only raise awareness of the needs of children with I/DD, but also create the expectation that, given proper support, they can lead healthy, active lives.
*Intellectual and developmental disabilities include autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and fetal alcohol syndrome.