CAREGIVERS: THE EYES & EARS OF EARLY WARNING SIGNS
series: MEETING NUTRITIONAL NEEDS by Lara Zakaria, RPh MS CNS CDN
It's really important that the caregivers act as the children's eyes and ears for us--and know signs or warnings of possible problems with the kids.
+ Read More
First of all, often they're spending a lot of time with the children and they're seeing them in their natural environment. They're seeing them at play. They might be seeing that at school or just when they're kind of hanging out and being themselves.
We all know kids sometimes will act differently at home or in school than they might when they're out with their friends. Being able to observe them in their natural environment, you might be able to get a little bit more and understand a little bit more of what's happening with them. The caregivers sometimes have this added vantage point that the medical professional or the parent or the teacher might not have or may not be privy to.
Because they're spending so much time with them, might get to know the children a little bit more. They might get to know about their home environment a little bit more and understand some nuances that they may not be sharing otherwise. They might develop a bond with that child and that child might be able to disclose more information about their situation. That could be really helpful.
Often the parents are under stress themselves. They might be dealing with financial hardships. They might be worried about where the next meal's going to be coming from or how they're going to get work. They might be thinking about their own personal health issues. They may have other children that they're worried about. They might be preoccupied and unintentionally not paying close attention to the child.
The last thing I want to mention is that cultural differences, different educational levels, and different exposures [can affect awareness]. Sometimes the parents may not be aware of certain things to pay attention to. Teachers may not be aware that something might be problematic.
Having an outsider that's more familiar with the situation could point these things out and be really helpful. It can be a point of education as well as making sure that we're getting the kids the help that they need.
Lara Zakaria, RPh MS CNS CDN
Lara Zakaria is a Syrian-American pharmacist and clinical nutritionist residing in New York City. She owns Foodie Farmacist LLC, an integrative medicine, nutrition, and genomics consulting practice focused on prevention and reversal of chronic disease. An active member of...
+ Read More
The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) Tristate Chapter, she is also honored to serve on the national Board of Directors.
Her ground experience includes participating with multidisciplinary medical teams serving displaced refugees and underserved local communities in Jordan and Lebanon. Lara also serves on several advisory committees including the Jordan Relief Committee (including the Za’atri Clinic Advisory Commission), Advocacy, and as chair of the Pharmacy and Nutrition Committee. Lara is an active advocate for awareness of the Syrian Crisis and medical worker safety, meeting with representative of the United Nations and of the US congress and senate, as well as in presenting SAMS work at various universities and roundtable discussions including the University of Michigan, Columbia University, CUNY Medical School, and New York University Medical and Law School.
Lara is currently a graduate student at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, and a candidate for a Masters in Public Health with a special interest in Behavioral and Social Health.