Malnutrition and disability are closely intertwined. Malnutrition can lead to developmental disability while having a developmental disability increases a child’s risk for being malnourished. To achieve global nutrition goals, and do so equitably, nutrition programs must take into account the challenges children with disabilities and their families face; challenges such as stigma, food insecurity, feeding difficulties, and limited access to inclusive care and nutrition services. To highlight the need for Sustainable Solutions for Disability-Inclusive Nutrition Programs, the Co-Chairs of CORE Group's Nutrition Working Group hosted virtual conversation on the topic in past webinar on May 27th at 10:00AM EDT. View the webinar recording on the CORE Group website.
Cat Kirk, Early Childhood Development Advisor for USAID Advancing Nutrition, joined a panel of experts to discuss barriers to inclusion in nutrition programs and consequences of exclusion. She introduced an ongoing scoping review designed to understand both the needs and opportunities for improving nutrition for children with feeding difficulties, focusing on children who have feeding difficulties associated with a developmental disability. In addition to her extensive experiences designing, implementing, and evaluating programs around the world, Cat brought forth a unique perspective on inclusion as the technical lead for many of the Early Childhood Development activities under USAID Advancing Nutrition that focus on the interconnectedness between nutrition and early childhood development. The webinar also featured the work of two organizations focused on serving children with disabilities. Representatives from Smile Train and SPOON shared relevant tools and resources, as well as how each organization has adapted to continue efforts to improve nutrition for children with disabilities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.