Hi! I’m Jackie, a dietitian and recent graduate of Ryerson’s MHSc Nutrition Communication program. I specialize in nutrition for people with physical disabilities. As a person living with a disability myself, I see how excluded this population is from the wellness industry and I’m on a mission to change that.
People with disabilities deserve equal opportunities to nutrition and fitness as those who are able-bodied and I promote this message on my Instagram platform, @accessiblewellness.
The dietetic profession has a long way to go to become more inclusive to people with disabilities. First, in school we don’t learn about nutrition interventions for people with spinal cord injuries, paralysis, multiple sclerosis, parkinsons, dwarfism, limb amputations, and more. I’d love to see this incorporated into the undergraduate curriculums.
Second, dietitians need to be better prepared to counsel people with disabilities considering they make up over 20% of the population. Dietitians would also benefit from receiving training on how to be inclusive and accessible to this population.
Third, the food industry needs to be more accessible and inclusive of the disability community and dietitians can play a huge role in this. Food packaging can be more accessible (by adding braille, making the packages easy to open for people with poor grip strength), products ideal for this community should be marketed towards them, and the nutritional quality of food products can be improved if they were tailored to the unique nutritional needs of people with disabilities.
Fourth, I’d love to see more dietitians who have disabilities! There are so few of us but I strongly believe that they would be a major asset to the profession considering their unique perspectives.
Feel free to send me a DM if you want to chat more!