Diversity Fellow Project, Esther Hsueh

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Understanding How Cultural Roots and Identity Shape Child-Rearing, Feeding, and Perceptions of Early Intervention Services

Understanding How Cultural Roots and Identity Shape Child-Rearing, Feeding, and Perceptions of Early Intervention Services: Presentation PDF [download]

Understanding How Cultural Roots and Identity Shape Child-Rearing, Feeding, and Perceptions of Early Intervention Service: Handout PDF [download]

meet Esther Hsueh >

Project Narrative

1. Please describe your activities during your fellowship experience. Describe your final capstone project(s).
During my fellowship with the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND), I had the privilege of completing my activities in clinical, community, and research settings. In clinical, I had the pleasure of learning from and working alongside disability experts and interdisciplinary teams in the Developmental Pediatrics Department, Special Care Clinic, and Oral Feeding Clinic at the Children’s Hospital Colorado. I was involved with the Early Intervention ENRICH Team at JFK Partners at the University of Colorado in providing care to infants and toddlers birth to three years of age. My training also allowed the opportunity for me to participate in weekly Nutrition Journal Club meetings at the University and in the community, completing an informal literature review on dietary and weight status on children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and volunteer with the Autism Support Group at the Children’s Hospital Colorado.

As a Nutrition and Diversity Fellow, I focused my capstone project in understanding different methods of infant/toddler feeding practices, mealtime behaviors, and family food preferences of different cultures by interviewing parents of children enrolled in early intervention. In addition, my project also focused on documenting family experiences in accessing early intervention services and perceptions of disability in their native countries and how it is similar or different to the view they adapted after immigrating to the United States. The collection of information obtained by interviews and a review of literature was formally presented to the ENRICH Early Intervention team and provided an informational resource on ‘Tips for Culturally Sensitive Practice in Early Intervention Services’.

2. Who did your project inform, help, influence or impact? (UCEDD, individual, community, state) How?
The ENRICH Early Intervention team works with the Rocky Mountain Health and Human Services in the Denver Metro area for providing early intervention services for children birth to age three. Though the emphasis for culturally competent care among providers working with individuals with disabilities is growing in Colorado, there hasn’t been an initiative to specifically target in-home providers. This project was developed to inform early intervention providers of the cultural differences in family and child-rearing practices and make aware of the questions that providers should consider when working with families in the home.

3. Why did you choose to work on that project(s)?
I chose to work on this project because during the regular ENRICH staff meetings, some of the providers had questions about cultural differences during mealtime and family routines. These questions were important to consider in making individualized recommendations. This sparked a discussion between my advisor and I on how important it was that in-home providers understand these differences to provide the best care for children and their families.

4. What did you gain from being a Diversity Fellow?
As a provider, so much of our interactions with families come from the lens of our professional training and expertise. It is often difficult to spend the extra time to get to know an individual and families beyond the immediate concerns they have. Through this fellowship, I was richly blessed to have the opportunity to discover the differences that characterize the children and families we work with. Culture shapes families and individuals as well as the perceptions of disability and professional relationships. It is vitally important that providers understand these ideas in providing care for children in early intervention.

5. How will this experience impact your education or career decisions?
After this experience, I am invested in furthering culturally competent care in the community and within the University setting. I hope to continue my efforts by joining an in-house committee to assess, plan and implement diversity in various practices of the institution.

6. What are your future goals? Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
In 5 years from now, I hope to work exclusively with children with developmental and special healthcare needs as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. I also hope to collaborate with other providers doing research studies in the area of nutrition and disability.

7. What recommendations do you have for other Fellows?
Take full advantage of the Fellowship! There are so many opportunities to meet providers, community agencies, and observe/participate in interdisciplinary teams. Get out of your comfort zone and reach out, ask, and intentionally look for the opportunities that will further enhance your experience. It’s worth it!

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