274: Embracing Diversity at the Dinner Table: Transforming ‘Picky Eating’ with Stephanie Sorrentino Mulholland

Apr 2

In a world where ADHD and neurodiversity often complicate the seemingly simple task of eating, Stephanie Sorrentino Mulholland brings a refreshing and enlightening perspective to the table. As a pediatric speech-language pathologist and a neurodivergent individual herself, Stephanie delves deep into the heart of 'picky eating,' transforming it from a common challenge into an inclusive, enriching experience.

Our discussion ventures beyond mere coping mechanisms, delving into the personal narratives surrounding ADHD diagnosis and the diverse reactions to medication. We emphasize the pivotal role of genuine connections and clear communication, not just in fostering personal growth but also in enhancing the effectiveness of therapy.

This episode provides insights into converting 'picky eating' into a joyful dining experience and demonstrates how structured outlines and schedules can serve as invaluable tools in managing the dynamic thought processes characteristic of ADHD.

Stephanie Sorrentino Mulholland distinguishes herself in the Chicagoland area as a pediatric speech-language pathologist, weaving her personal experiences with neurodivergence into her professional expertise. Her roles in community outreach and as an adjunct professor at Saint Xavier University highlight her deep commitment to advocating for neurodiversity. Through her practice, Bite-Sized Beginnings, she offers specialized feeding and language support, making her a crucial resource for neurodivergent individuals and their families. Beyond her professional endeavors, Stephanie's life with her husband, Trent, and their dachshunds, Rizzo and Pasqualie, reflects a balanced and holistic approach to enjoying life's moments, big and small.





"There is nothing more humbling than studying disorders and realizing you might have one, and so the interesting thing was how inspiring it was for me to see the reasons why things were challenging for me. It released a lot of internalized shame." 
- Stephanie Sorrentino Mulholland

"For an ADHD brain, we like to have the words [from our word closet] that we love front and center. We want to be able to grab the vocabulary, the topics, the things that we love the most and have them easily accessible to us." 
- Stephanie Sorrentino Mulholland

"Taking the time to really socially connect with people who mean something to you is essentially the best way for you to recharge and slow down." 
- Stephanie Sorrentino Mulholland

"When you have ADHD, you're passionate about the things that you're involved in, you want to get it right, you want to do well, you want to be prepared."
- Stephanie Sorrentino Mulholland

"I am a huge advocate for talk therapy. It's important for us to talk things through before we go pitch an idea or if we really, really want to be heard and understood."
- Stephanie Sorrentino Mulholland

[00:00 - 37:20] ADHD, autism, and feeding therapy
  • Stephanie Sorrentino Mulholland, pediatric speech language pathologist, shares her expertise and personal experience as a neurodivergent individual.
  • She also shared how outlines help ADHD brains process information by providing a framework for the main ideas.
  • Stephanie and Tracy  highlighted the importance of focus and openness in communication, emphasizing that our brains are not linear and are open to new experiences.

[37:20 - 45:32] Autism diet and mealtime challenges
  • Autistic individual shares experiences with sensory overload and exercise as a coping mechanism.
  • Parent struggles with child's picky eating habits, seeking advice on how to handle it.

[45:32 - 1:02:14 ] Neurodiversity, self-advocacy, and mental health
  • How cultural expectations around food can impact children's mental health
  • Self-diagnosis and exploration of neurodiversity through online resources and community support.
  • Stephanie emphasizes empathy and spontaneity in connecting with others.
Bite-Sized Beginnings

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Hi, I'm Tracy

I teach Smart Ass ADHD women how to use their brilliant brains to build the life they want by embracing their too-muchness and focusing on their strengths.