22 August 2017

Page 29


Eating first meal a milestone for Emma

Hundreds of guns surrendered

EMMA Coles was only able to eat her first full meal of solid foods when she was 11 years old. And that was years after she began working with Peninsula Health speech pathologist Danielle Surwald to overcome a case of severe food aversion. “You always get people saying they’ve got a fussy eater at home but it’s not quite the same,” mum Roz Coles said. Emma could only tolerate liquids until she was seven years old and then progressed to purees. Until recently, her diet consisted of just soup and yoghurt. In a milestone event last month, Emma ate her first proper meal – and finished it all. “My other kids wanted nuggets and chips and I decided to get her one and just see how she goes,” Mrs Coles said. “I sat there with her and said, ‘I know you struggle with this, but we’ve been practising so let’s give it a go’. “Then she ate the whole thing and enjoyed it!” Ms Surwald regards the event as a “significant milestone”. “Emma has had to work hard to overcome her sensory and emotional responses to food,” she said. “She has had to teach herself to bite and chew solid foods, something most of us take for granted. She is now setting her own goals and finding pleasure in eating. “It has been an amazing journey for all those involved and Emma should be very proud of herself.” Ms Surwald started seeing Emma

HUNDREDS of firearms have been handed in for registration, sale or destruction in Victoria in the first month of National Firearms Amnesty. As of the end of July, 751 firearms had been surrendered in Victoria. Other items handed in include swords, a crossbow, ammunition and imitation firearms. Victorians have until 30 September to surrender unregistered and unwanted firearms, ammunition and weapons to Licensed Firearms Dealers without fear of prosecution. Anyone surrendering firearms, weapons or ammunition during the amnesty should surrender to a licensed firearms dealer, not to police. Explosives should not be surrendered during the amnesty. Any person wanting to dispose of explosives, including explosive ordnances, should contact WorkSafe. “Every unwanted or unregistered firearm or weapon that we can destroy or register is another step towards a safer Victoria,” Superintendent Paul Millett of the Licensing and Regulation Division said. “We are seeing people with unregistered firearms from deceased estates, those who have been given firearms by friends and relatives as well as existing licence holders all surrendering unwanted and unregistered firearms. “We encourage everyone to think about any firearms or weapons that they have around the house or in storage and to take action by surrendering them to a licensed firearm dealer.” Supt Millett said the illegal firearm market is complex “and the amnesty is just one of the ways we are reducing the number of unregistered firearms”.

Taste treat: Emma gets stuck into some chicken sticks. Picture: Supplied

when she turned one after the Cranbourne East girl began attending Frankston Hospital for speech pathology appointments. “Danielle has been working with Emma teaching her how to chew and strengthening up her jaw,” Mrs Coles said. “She gave Emma a chew toy and some exercises and we’ve just kept working on that, pushing her boundaries and slowly, slowly desensitising her to food.” Frankston Hospital spokeswoman Jessica Mills said the role of the speech pathologist was to work with those with speech or communication difficulties, as well as help those with feeding and swallowing

difficulties. For instance, when babies have difficulty sucking during breast or bottle feeding they might come to an infant feeding clinic which is run by speech pathologists. Or, a stroke victim may have lost the ability to swallow, she said. “Speech pathologists may recommend changes to the textures of foods or drinks, and provide rehabilitation techniques and exercises to help people swallow safely. “Food aversion is on the more extreme end of the scale and the speech pathologist worked with Emma over the years to build up her tolerance to food and has most recently been doing exercises with

Emma to strengthen her jaw and teach her how to chew. It’s something we take for granted but, as she’s never been able to eat solid food before, she never had to chew.” Mrs Coles is also delighted with her daughter’s progress. “She still has pureed food for breakfast and lunch because we need to get food into her but she now will also eat chicken nuggets, chicken strips, hot chips, potato chips or biscuits. “It’s nice to know now we can go out for dinner as a family and I know it’s not the healthiest of options but we don’t have to bring soup with us.” She praised Ms Surwald’s “crucial role” in helping Emma overcome her food aversion over the years. “We wouldn’t be where we are now without Danielle,” Mrs Coles said. “She has just worked so hard and so tirelessly over the years. I’ve always known that if I get stuck I can just send her an email or give her a call. “It’s been a long journey and one that is still going but we’ll keep working on it.” Speech Pathology Week runs until 26 August. To access Peninsula Health’s speech pathology service, call 1300 665 781.

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‘Sugar’ Kane Watts ts Comedian Tom Siegert Siegerrt

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BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL ESSENTIAL! AL! Call Hastings Club 03 5979 1740 40 Western Port News 22 August 2017


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