The Chompions! Study
at Duke University
Family-Assisted Diet (FAD) Division
Welcome to the Family Assisted Diet (FAD) Intervention. This is an intervention designed to treat children with Avoidant/ Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. Rather than having children attend the sessions, the FAD intervention works only with the parents. We take this strategy for a few reasons. First, many children with ARFID have experienced a lot of different forms of feeding and other therapies. Frankly, they are just tired of them and we want to give the kids a break. Second, there are many challenging facets of parenting a child with ARFID - things that are important to address so that parents get the support that they need. Often these are sensitive topics that are best addressed without a child present.
We like to think that the FAD parenting intervention covers themes that are not typically addressed in parent training programs. For example, we think themes of grief, loss, and trauma may be profound experiences for parents with a child with ARFID, but topics that are rarely discussed or explored. The FAD intervention begins with exploring these personal and profound experiences. We explore strategies to parent a self-conscious child. We discuss techniques to maximize a child’s sense of predictability and control while helping to build their confidence they can deal with the unexpected. We would be remiss if we didn’t also incorporate information about behavior change strategies and work with parents to help tweak the plans that they already have in place that may or may not working as wished. Finally, throughout the FAD intervention, there is an emphasis on parents own self-care and on the importance of their role modeling such care. Children with ARFID are sensitive: they can tell when their parents are not okay and thus an important focus of the FAD intervention is to make sure parents have the support they need.
Below are examples of the skills explored in the Family Assisted Diet intervention.
Thus, the ultimate goal of the FAD intervention is not only to improve the health of children with ARFID but to make families stronger.