Jan Gambino Jan Gambino's Blog

Coloring Contest for Tummy Aches.

It was an honor to be a judge for the 2006 Kids Create. Parents Relate. Drawing and Coloring Contest for Tummy Aches sponsored by TAP Pharmaceuticals Inc and PAGER Association. Children ages three years to fifteen years were given the opportunity to draw a picture of what reflux looks like. The entries were amazing! Kids from all over the country showed how it felt to have reflux. There were many sad faces and stomachs in flames of red and orange. Kids were shown in bed or the bathroom looking sad and sick or isolated from their friends. In the next few weeks, the winners will be announced. Check the PAGER website at www.reflux.org for an announcement of the winners.

Art is a great way to encourage a child to express his feelings. Your child may tell you his stomach hurts but he might not tell you how isolated and afraid he feels. A picture may show these hidden feelings and begin a dialogue that leads to a better understanding. Looking at a series of pictures made over a period of weeks or months may be a way to gage how a child feels about reflux, pain and discomfort over time.

Often a doctor will ask a child about symptoms and pain during an office visit. My kids usually give one word responses like this:

Doctor: How are you feeling?
Child: ok
Doctor: Are you in pain?
Child: No, not really.
Doctor: Are you eating ok?
Child: Yeah.

Imagine how powerful it would be to bring a picture of what reflux looks like to the doctor. I bet it would generate a discussion and lead to more questions and comments from both the child and the doctor.

Doctor: I see you made a picture of your stomach aches and there are flames coming out of your stomach.
Child: Yeah, it hurts so much. Sometimes I can’t go to sleep at night because it hurts so much.
Doctor: How many nights does your reflux keep you from sleeping?
Child: About every night.
Doctor: Let’s talk about a plan to help you sleep better at night.

So even though the Coloring Contest is finished for this year, I hope you will encourage your child to draw a picture of what reflux looks like to share with you and the doctor. You might be surprised to see things from your child’s point of view.





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