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Infant Toddler Development Training
Module 6, Lesson 2


In this lesson, information will be presented relative to generally accepted growth stages and nutrition of infants and toddlers including conditions that impede normal growth. Specifically, the lesson provides the Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist (ITDS) with information pertaining to nutritional risk; the prevalence rates of obesity and undernourishment; and signs and symptoms of nutritional disorders for specially designated conditions.

little girl eatingThe ITDS will enhance his/her knowledge and skills as a member of a multidisciplinary or trans-disciplinary team that may consist of the primary medical provider, the behavioral specialist and a nutritionist to effectively plan and implement a Nutritional Plan of Care with the family. However, individual expertise varies across the state and all areas may not have access to a nutritionist or behavioral specialist. Each team will need to identify the professionals from their area that have expertise related to these concerns. For example, in some areas it may be a physician, a psychologist, or an educator. For sensory issues it may be an occupational therapist or a speech language pathologist. Issues of nutrition related to behavioral challenges are addressed for the ITDS.

This lesson presents the ITDS with strategies to assist families in the promotion of dental health and preventive health, including immunizations that were briefly introduced in Lesson 1. The lesson reviews the basics of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and seizure precautions. It provides an overview of the common acute illnesses of childhood that may be seen in infants and toddlers.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, you will be able to:

  1. Cite the prevalence rates and associated growth and nutritional risks for undernourishment and obesity.
  2. Define nutritional factors associated with specially designated diagnoses in infants and toddlers.
  3. Assist with assessment related to infants and toddlers who are medically complex or have low incidence disabilities.
  4. Understand the terminology in a doctor or nutritionist's report related to anthropometric assessment.
  5. Assist the family in the application of interventions prescribed by the primary medical provider or nutritionist.
  6. Participate as a member of the multidisciplinary team to address behaviorally based feeding disorders and assist the family in implementing a Nutritional Plan of Care using a behavioral approach.
  7. List and recognize the symptoms and signs of inadequate caloric intake and losses, other nutritional risks and the physical signs of a nutritional disorder.,
  8. Work with the multidisciplinary team of professionals including the primary medical provider, the nutritionist, and the family to ensure generalization or integration of the Nutritional Plan of Care within the family's cultural beliefs and everyday activities.
  9. Review immunization schedules for infants and toddlers with families.
  10. Recognize the symptoms of seizures and explain precautions to families.
  11. Explain dental care for infants and toddlers.
  12. Recognize the symptoms of acute illness in infants and toddlers.


The following resources are necessary for the completion of this lesson. Learners may wish to access and print a hard copy of the resources prior to beginning the lesson and for future reference. Some resource documents can be found in the Resource Bank. Others are available online.

Center for Disease Control Growth Charts

Down Syndrome Growth Charts

Key Words

Definitions of key words are found in the glossary.

  • Anthropometric
  • Biliary Atresia
  • Bradycardia
  • Endocrine Disorders
  • Esophageal Sphincter
  • Fiberoptic Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing (FEES)
  • Infantile Anorexia
  • Naso-duodenal
  • Naso-gastric
  • Naso-jejunal
  • Orogastric
  • Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG)
  • Stadiometer
  • Swallow Apnea
  • Tracheostomy
  • Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study (VFSS)


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