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How different are the nutritional requirements of disabled children?

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Milly

Normal user

17 Aug 2012, 08:26

I'm currently undertaking a small project to assess the adequacy of the dietary intakes of disabled children in a rural community in North India. The children I visit are of varying levels and forms of disability ranging from cognitive impairment to daily seizures (lasting up to an hour). How should I best estimate their energy requirements? The only measurements I am taking from each child are MUAC and height. Should I be taking other measurements? (I don't have a set of callipers here and scales are quite bulky). Questions around feeding that I have asked each family are, what do they eat, how big are the portions, do they struggle to eat, can they feed themselves, is eating time consuming for them, do they enjoy eating, how many hours do they sleep each day, what are their usual daily activities. Are there other questions I should be asking?

Sonya LeJeune

Normal user

17 Aug 2012, 11:25

Hi

In relation to feeding, some initial thoughts are:
- Does seasonality have an impact on how / what the children are fed? that could affect both the type and quantity of food as well as the time that people have for childcare.
- I would avoid too many subjective type questions for example Rather than asking if feeding time is consuming, you might be better to ask a more open question about how long it takes as that will give you an answer that will be easier to analyse and interpret.
- Do the children eat the same food as the rest of the family or is special food prepared for them? Either in terms of different ingredients or in terms of consistency.
- Who is responsible for feeding and what challenges (if any) do they face in that task?

In terms of adequacy / requirements, can you somehow take into account their energy expenditure?

Good luck

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