Grantee Blog 2020

Feedback and Development

The lack of disability and neurodiverse-specific resources place persons and families at an increased risk for poor health outcomes. The main aim of the Inclusive Nutrition Standards of Care and Guidelines for Implementation is to provide persons with disabilities, their caregiver(s), and disability-focused service providers the tools to promote healthy behaviors throughout their lifetime. The Center on Nutrition and Disability’s (CND) Standards are in their final stages of revision before pilot testing. Development of the Standards utilizes an accessible and equitable process and a person-centered approach that is: culturally competent; evidence-based, and action-oriented. The development of the Guidelines for Implementation will be led by feedback collected from the pilot test post-survey questionnaire and exit interviews (Estimated time of completion: November 2021).

We initiated this project by conducting an environmental scan to evaluate existing nutrition resources for the disability population. The scan further displayed the lack of disability health-focused tools. A team was strategically convened consisting of nutrition experts from Dietetics and Nursing disciplines. Nutritional barriers for people with disabilities in NJ were documented using anecdotal evidence provided by the Center on Nutrition and Disability Report and The Family Resource Network’s Information & Referral Specialists. The Standards focus on the noted barriers and provide action-oriented steps to best support people with disabilities.
• Information was compiled using the following sources: US Department of Agriculture MyPlate and SNAP-Ed, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Dietary Guidelines for Americans: 2020-2025, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, NJ Department of Human Services
• Disability focused: Montana Disability and Health Program, Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), The Clemson Cooperative Extension, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and NYU Steinhardt School
During this opportunity with the NJHCN program coaches and cohort, we have been able to:
  • Collaborate with nutrition provider organizations for The Center’s Health Education Webinar Series (SNAP-Ed, Hunger Free NJ, and Rutger’s Horticultural Therapists
  • Develop inclusive cookbooks (written and pictorial editions)
  • Design CND branded budget and meal planning templates (printable version, excel version with formulas)
  • Receive feedback from Get FIT Coalition members
    • Get FIT Coalition 6/21 feedback: include swallowing/choking hazards and allergies in Standards 1
    • Feedback from Interns studying Public Health, Dietetics, and Health Care Administration
This project would not be possible without the partnerships and responses we’ve received from our community members. We aim to embody “Nothing about us without us” mentality in each step of the Standards development coupled with industry expert knowledge and resource connections.

Please allow us to hear from you! Your input in the development of the Standards will lay the foundation in how our team will build them out. By reaching out we will schedule an appointment to dive deep into the Standards allowing space for feedback and additional key points to be addressed. Once the Standards are ready for pilot-testing they will be utilized within After-School Programs, Group Homes, Day Programs, and most importantly in families’ homes. If you are interested in the Guidelines for Implementation portion of the Standards, we would like to partner with additional locations to ensure thorough feedback from community members, businesses, camps, medical providers, food providers, and other stakeholders. Reach out to Greta Latvyte, Project Lead, for more information at: Looking forward to hearing from you!

About the Grantee

Family Resource Network

The Family Resource Network is an inclusive group of community programs and services designed to meet the growing needs of individuals and families with disabilities. From mobility assistance to educational programs for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to scholarship opportunities and healthy eating and fitness programs- we aim to bridge gaps for the families we serve.