Meet Hana Eichele,
About Your Provider:
I’ve always loved the energy and zest kids bring to life! I’ve been known as the crazy aunt, the fun cousin, and the loud niece. You’ll find me sitting at the “kids table” for holidays, even to this day, because I can’t hold back from telling a joke or starting a new game.
As a Youth Mentor in High School, I began working with children with Autism. One child in particular, planted the seed for where I am today. He had a severely restricted diet of artificially colored and sweetened yogurt and candy bars. Whenever he consumed his lunch, his functional skills would almost immediately decline.
It broke my heart seeing how food was not helping his body do what he needed and wanted to do.
It lead me to further explore this population through a qualitative research study regarding health-related quality of life (HRQL) for children with medical complexity and quantitative research regarding feeding and eating interventions for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Through my research and work experiences, it became clear there was a need for skilled providers to decrease stress resulting from sensory-based feeding issues in order to improve family mealtimes and overall quality of life.
When I became a Registered and Licensed Pediatric Occupational Therapist, my passion for children, food, and healing became a reality. I started out in the school setting, which allowed me to see the value of providing services within the natural environment. As a special education team, we were able to collaborate on a consistent basis to determine and monitor effective interventions. I then transitioned into the clinical setting to increase my knowledge with medically complex individuals and to address feeding and eating challenges with an emphasis on the family unit. I’m a lifelong learner and have pursued additional training in a variety of programs, including Handwriting Without Tears, Astronaut Training developed by Mary Kawar, and the SOS (Sequential Oral Sensory) Approach to Feeding developed by Dr. Kay Toomey and Associates*. When I became an SOS Approach to Feeding provider, I learned how to assess and treat children with feeding difficulties by examining the root causes impacting their success through a comprehensive lens spanning oral, motor, behavioral, sensory, and cognitive/learning development.
Through my own trials and tribulations in life (and there have been many), I discovered my core values are resiliency and hope.
When people ask why I pour out my heart and soul for others, it’s because I can. I have the capacity to choose this career everyday, and feel grateful for the opportunities I’ve been afforded. I look forward to partnering with more families in the future to not only help children develop skills for feeding, but also to experience joy while safely eating!
When I’m not working with my Roots clients, you may find me making a new recipe, reading, going to the farmer’s market, practicing and teaching yoga, adventuring with my husband, or visiting our family and friends in the Midwest.
*For more information on the SOS Approach to Feeding program, please visit www.sosapproachtofeeding.com.