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Unique Psychology Program for Food Allergies

Food allergy is a common condition often diagnosed in early childhood that impacts the daily lives of children and their families. Our program offers a unique opportunity for parents and children to receive care from a pediatric food allergy psychologist who provides a variety of interventions to support food allergy management skills and improve psychosocial experiences.

Support for Food Allergy Management

Parents and children can receive age-appropriate psychoeducation on food allergy management, including how to read labels, identify an allergic reaction, and develop an emergency action plan that works best for their family. We also work with families on ways to advocate for their food allergy management needs, whether that be in a formal setting such as the child's school or an informal setting like talking to their peers. Our goal is to help families develop the skills to manage food allergies effectively and confidently.

Food Allergy Anxiety

Using evidence-based interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure and response prevention (ERP), we help children and parents address their fears related to food allergies by building healthy coping strategies to make them feel comfortable living their lives while safely managing food allergies.

Feeding and Eating Concerns

Feeding and eating restrictions due to negative experiences with food or fear of allergic reactions are common in children with food allergies. First, we conduct an assessment to understand the child's specific feeding concerns and the etiology of those concerns. Then we develop a comprehensive treatment plan in collaboration with the child's allergist, which includes gradual exposure to safe foods in the therapy session.

Needle Phobia and Procedure Preparation

Children with food allergies may require routine blood testing and need to receive emergency treatment through injections. Some children may experience fear that impedes their ability to engage in these procedures and, thus, would benefit from therapy to increase their tolerance to needles. Through evidence-based cognitive behavioral and exposure techniques, children can build coping skills that increase their comfort with injections.

Many food allergy patients will be referred for oral food challenges, the gold standard procedure for food allergy diagnosis. Food challenges can be an anxiety-provoking experience for children and families due to the risk of allergic reactions. Our psychology team can help families prepare for this procedure and provide support services for anxiety and feeding concerns during the procedure itself. 

Other Allergic Conditions

We recognize that other allergic conditions, such as atopic dermatitis, environmental allergies, or eosinophilic esophagitis, can significantly impact our patients' lives. Our pediatric psychologist can meet with families to provide interventions that address these needs or assist in connecting these patients with the appropriate psychology provider.