Food Selectivity in Children on the Autism Spectrum: Evidencing the Effectiveness of Behavior Analytic Interventions

Andrea Moldovan-Grunfeld, Karola Dillenburger

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Abstract

Food selectivity is a major cause for concern for many children on the autism spectrum, with some children’s diet restricted to one or two food sources only, such as a child only eating yoghurt or anther child only eating potato chips. A systematic literature review was conducted to establish the effectiveness of behaviour analytic interventions that target introducing variety into the diet of these children. A total of 42 studies met inclusion criteria. Nearly all studies reported successful introduction of food variety into the children’s diet. The two most frequently used behaviour analytic interventions included reinforcement and extinction procedures. Interestingly and against guidelines for evidenced-based practice, few studies reported functional assessments and/or preference assessments. The absence of these assessments did not seem to have an impact on intervention effectiveness. A discussion of this outcome together with recommendations for future research and practice are offered.
Original languageEnglish
Article number145
Number of pages15
Journal Neurological Disorders & Epilepsy Journal
Volume4
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2021

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