Filling the Gap and Finding Your Niche with Jackie Silver, MHSc, RD

September 30, 2022

Our Practitioner Spotlights celebrate the many ways that our practitioners are using Practice Better to help support their business goals and improve clients’ lives. This month, we had the chance to speak with Jackie Silver, a Toronto-based registered dietician who runs a private practice and consulting business, Jackie Silver Nutrition, focused mainly on neurodivergent kids, teens, and adults. She works with a wide variety of clients with autism, ADHD, and intellectual/developmental disabilities on a range of nutritional issues such as picky eating, nutrient deficiencies, digestive issues, meal prep and planning, malnutrition, and disordered eating patterns.

How Jackie Connects With More People Through Consulting

The second focus of her business includes consulting work for various organizations. Some examples of her focus include resource development for disability organizations to nutrition pilot projects for autism nonprofits.

Explore Jackie’s blog for recipes and evidence-based blog posts on nutrition topics tailored to the neurodivergent and disabled communities.   

Can you share more about your journey that led to the niche that you’re currently focused on?

When I opened my private practice during the pandemic, my original intention was to focus on adults with physical disabilities (I’m a wheelchair user, so this is a population of interest for me) such as spinal cord injury, spina bifida, etc., and for some reason, this niche never took off. 

During my dietetic internship for my master’s degree, I did a rotation with Special Olympics Ontario, where I ran nutrition workshops for athletes with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As I was creating a profile on a health professional directory, I ticked off the box for autism and started receiving several requests to work with autistic kids and adults. 

It became clear very quickly that there is a huge need for working with the neurodivergent community as not many dietitians are doing so.

I soon realized I had a lot to learn as I did not learn much about this area in my training, so I signed up for any webinar or course I could find. I’ve taken courses on picky eating for kids with sensory issues, mindful eating, eating disorder supervision groups, and more. The learning never ends.

It’s been almost two years of my practice, and 90% of my clientele are neurodivergent. I love the niche that I’m in and the variety it includes. My clients range from being nonverbal and living in group homes to autistic adults who live independently and struggle with executive dysfunction around meal planning.

Do you collaborate with other practitioners and, if so, what does that process look like? What types of practitioners do you currently work with?

Yes, collaboration is key. So far, I have collaborated with therapists, social workers, case coordinators at group homes, behavior therapists, nurses, and occupational therapists.

For my clients living in group homes, I typically work with the group home staff, supervisors, case coordinators, and behavior therapists to communicate the plan and support them in implementation. 

For clients with disordered eating patterns, I’ll often chat with their therapist to hear their perspectives and ensure we’re on the same page with the messaging that’s being delivered.

What is your signature package, program, or offering? 

I offer three unique packages for my clients, separated into pediatric and adult packages. They all start with a 60-minute initial consultation and then vary in the number of follow-up sessions. The third package comes with a personalized one-week meal plan that I create using meal planning software and a mindful eating guide, a sample one-week meal plan, and a meal prep guide (which are automated, so they receive it when they book a package). 

Which Practice Better features do you use in the promotion/selling/marketing stage?

I offer a free 15-minute discovery call booking that I promote on my website, email signature, email list, and health professional directories.

Which Practice Better features do you use in the onboarding stage with clients?

I created a consent form and detailed intake questionnaire that I send to every client. I also created packages in Practice Better that are sent via email to clients along with their invoice, an invitation to create their account, and to schedule their first session.

Which Practice Better features do you use in the working together stage?

  • Depending on the client, I may give them access to the food journal. I find clients like the ability to add photos of their meals to it instead of having to type it out.
  • I always send out a protocol and attach relevant resources after each session, which clients appreciate. They love not having to take notes during each session.
  • I also find it valuable to add a secondary email contact as there are typically multiple support people involved in caring for my clients, especially those that live in group homes. It’s important for me to keep them in the loop and have them receive the protocols.
  • I often use the messenger feature to communicate with clients if they have questions.

What makes Practice Better a great fit for you and your business?

I love having everything I need located in one place. When you run your business, there are many moving pieces and projects to keep on top of. Having all my notes, protocols, health documents, messages, calendar, and more in one place helps me stay organized and gives me the confidence that personal health information is stored securely and confidentially.

I find that neurodivergent folks do well with repetition and having reminders in writing which is why the ability to send them protocols with all the session notes has been invaluable. The automatic session reminders are also a huge help for my clients.

What advice would you share with other practitioners looking to build a successful business and run their practices using Practice Better?

  1. Spend a lot of time, in the beginning, learning all the ins and outs of Practice Better because you won’t have time when your practice picks up. 
  2. Don’t be afraid to email Practice Better support with any questions you have. 
  3. Automate and streamline as many processes as possible and make adjustments as you go. 
  4. Be patient, network with as many professionals as possible to build a name for yourself, put in the hard work, and the business will come, but it does not happen overnight.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Jackie!

Jackie Silver

Connect with Jackie on her website, Instagram, and TikTok.

Practice Better is the complete practice management platform for nutritionists, dietitians, and wellness professionals. Streamline your practice and begin your 14-day free trial today.

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