Jennifer Conway, Dietitian Providing IEP Nutrition Services
My name is Jennifer Conway, and I am a registered/licensed dietitian and owner of Conway Nutrition Services, Inc. My company provides nutrition services to the Illinois Early Intervention Program for children birth to 3 years old. Our team of dietitians treat children with a variety of health issues including: developmental delays, failure to thrive, poor weight gain, food allergies, transitioning from tube feedings to oral feedings, food aversions, and more.
I was inspired to study dietetics due to the variety of possibilities this career could offer in helping people achieve their goals.
I was inspired to study dietetics due to the variety of possibilities this career could offer in helping people of all ages reach their nutrition, health, and wellness goals. I received my Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Northern Illinois University, and I have completed advanced training in SOS Feeding Therapy and Food Chaining. I have been involved in nutrition and dietetics for over 25 years and have been involved with the Early Intervention Program for over 15 years.
My early career began in an acute care hospital in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. It was there that I treated patients in various levels of care: Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU), Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU), Medical, Surgical, Cardiac Services, and Pediatrics. My duties included providing nutrition plans, tube feedings, diabetic/cardiac educational classes, and outpatient nutrition consults to children and adults.
I enjoyed seeing how improving a child’s nutrition contributed to their overall health…
It was in this hospital setting that I found my love of providing nutrition education to children and families. I enjoyed seeing how improving a child’s nutrition contributed to their overall health and decreased their health risk factors. A child’s nutritional health is dependent upon those that take care of them, so a big part of my job was educating families. This required a particular skill set on my part that included presenting up to date nutrition information in a positive and encouraging way so that parents and caretakers could help their child reach their health goals. Parents of children that have serious health issues are faced with many challenges, and there is an abundance of nutrition information and misinformation to wade through. My job is to tailor a plan that will offer the most success for the child’s nutrition and overall health. A child that faces a medical crisis or has developmental delays can thrive once their nutrition levels are adequately met. Good nutrition provides children with the best foundation to develop better cognitive, emotional, and physical skills. The earlier these nutrition goals are met, the better the child does as they enter school.
The process of assessing a child’s needs can begin at birth, and this allows me to see little babies transform…
The most rewarding part of my career is working with the Early Intervention program. The process of assessing a child’s needs can begin at birth, and this allows me to see little babies transform through better nutrition and thrive once I’ve educated the parents on their nutritional needs. I have had the honor of working with children and families from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, which keeps my work motivating. It is a pleasure working with a team of experts such as physical, speech, occupational therapists, and other early intervention specialists as we work to provide children with much-needed health services. Children that are eligible for Early Intervention are given a jump-start in their development progress and have the best chance possible to thrive despite their unique challenges.
I’ve found the Special Education Careers website to be a valuable resource for anyone interested in the field of special education.
I’ve found the Special Education Careers website to be a valuable resource for anyone interested in the field of special education. It provides great resources and testimonials from those already working in the field. There is also a wide range of expertise that we need in this field to help improve the lives of those that need specialized education and health services.
-Jennifer Conway, RD, LDN
Conway Nutrition Services, Inc
Northern Illinois University BA Dietetics