Friday Fast Five: Meet Erin Ross

Friday Fast Five Interview

Each month we interview individuals associated with the Australasian NIDCAP Training Centre and the broader NIDCAP Federation International (NFI) community, asking them five questions that explore their association with our unit and NIDCAP.

This month, meet Dr Erin Ross Speech Therapist and Developmental Specialist at Ross Medical Centre and Skyridge Medical Centre, Denver Colorado. Erin is the founder of Feeding Fundamentals and the SOFFI method she is a NIDCAP and APIB Professional.

What is your role in the neonatal setting?

I attend multidisciplinary rounds with parents, neonatologists, NNP’s, social workers and the unit nurse director every week in each hospital. We discuss medical and developmental components of care. I teach parents (with staff) about developmental care, reading and responding to infant behaviours. I provide support and education to create feeding plans and I also connect families to early intervention services needed to support infant development.

How are you involved in NIDCAP?

My feeding training program SOFFI is based on the Synactive Theory of Development Principles. I am a member of the NFI and encourage my trainees to learn about NIDCAP. I use the APIB as a developmental assessment and I have recently joined the financial committee.

In your opinion how does NIDCAP and neuroprotective care potentially benefit neonates, families and staff?

They support optimal infant development and parent infant relationships. It helps staff focus on the longer term goal of development. Since my particular focus is on feeding, we focus on neuroprotective care as a way to help infants reach a level of homeostasis that is the support for learning to eat.

What would you like people to know about NIDCAP and neuroprotective care? Everything infants and families experience in the NICU influences their relationship and its development. I describe NIDCAP (and feeding using the NIDCAP mode i.e. SOFFI) as a conversation. We don’t just read cues, we respond (listen, react and interact) in ways that helps families reach new levels of functionality.

What do you hope NIDCAP and NIDCAP Training Centres achieve globally?

The world has advanced dramatically over the last century. NIDCAP is the next frontier – neuroprotective care will advance the developmental outcomes of infants and families. I hope NIDCAP embraces collectively, neuroprotective programs while continuing to lead the way so all infants receive care that focuses on building trust and relationships.

Editor's note: The views of individuals do not represent the view of the Australasian NIDCAP Training Centre.