The SOFFI Method: Supporting Oral Feeding in Fragile Infants Workshop

This 2 day course provides immediately applicable practical information to help clinicians better identify and treat the factors that impact successful oral feeding of preterm and ill term infants. Utilizing a multidisciplinary approach—both in the NICU and after discharge to early intervention through the first six months—the course emphasizes strategies to facilitate infant abilities and develop caregiver feeding skills. Breastfeeding is emphasized as the best feeding method for infants, with some strategies to support breastfeeding. However, most of the feeding strategies are for bottle feedings, since more infant feeding problems occur with bottle feedings. The objective is to identify feeding readiness and provide intervention strategies from a framework of normal development. A holistic approach integrating the medical fragility of these infants is emphasized, using the BROSS approach and the SOFFISM Method. 

Participants will be able to apply course learning immediately to:  Identify necessary components of infant development that indicate a readiness to begin and sustain oral feeding, including physiologic, motor and state organization.  Discuss the development of oral-motor skills in preterm infants.  Describe the interaction between medical and developmental levels as they relate to feeding readiness and the progression.  Identify infants who are not following a normal progression.  Use the BROSS approach to identify the development of oral feeding skills and use the SOFFI MethodSM feeding decisions and interventions strategies.  Use principles of normal development and developmentally supportive care to facilitate feeding progression, to include contributions of both the family and the professional team.  Identify the impact of various medical conditions on oral feeding success. Level of instruction: Intermediate to Advanced. This workshop is designed for individuals with several years experience working with family and staff to support oral feeding for infants in, or just discharged from the intensive care nursery, including speech/language pathologists, nursing staff, occupational therapists, physical therapists and early interventionists. 
Erin Ross, Ph.D. is the creator of the SOFFI MethodSM 2008 which is currently recommended by the National Association of Neonatal Nurses to be used in conjunction with their new feeding guidelines. She is the proprietor of Feeding FUNdamentals, LLC. Dr Ross received her Master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology in 1988 and received her Doctoral degree in Clinical Sciences – Health Services Research from the University of Colorado in 2007. Dr Ross is currently a Clinical Instructor in the School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, at the University of Colorado Denver, and works in the NICU within several HealthONE hospitals and at the SOS Feeding Solutions clinic in Denver, Colorado. Dr Ross is on the faculty of Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions. She has specialized clinically in the development of feeding skills in medically fragile children for over 20 years, and her research focuses on the etiology and treatment of feeding and growth problems in infants and children. Dr Ross is the President and CEO of Feeding FUNdamentals, LLC.

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