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Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.

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43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #17
CE Offered: BACB/QABA
Treatment of Food Selectivity Among Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorders
Saturday, May 27, 2017
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 3B
Area: AUT/PRA; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Abby Hodges, M.Ed.
Chair: Madison Cloud (Vanderbilt University; Baylor University)
Discussant: John Borgen (Oregon Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are at a greater risk for feeding problems relative to their typically developing peers. A substantial percentage (46-89%) of children with ASD display feeding problems, including food selectivity, food refusal, and other mealtime behavior problems such as elopement from the table or crying. Parents of children with autism report that they struggle to manage their childrens feeding problems and worry about the potential negative effects on health and development. Researchers have identified a need for additional replications of promising focused behavioral interventions with positive effects on feeding and mealtime challenging behavior in children with autism and food selectivity. The current studies assess the generality of such feeding interventions (i.e., differential reinforcement, shaping, and a high-probability instructional sequence), by evaluating the effects of these treatments in children with ASD who display food selectivity. Whereas the use of shaping and differential reinforcement resulted in a decrease in food selectivity, the use of the high probability instructional sequence did not show the same effects. All participants were provided with individualized treatment evaluations until they demonstrated improvements in feeding.
Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): autism, food selectivity
Using Shaping to Increase Foods Consumed by Children with Autism
ABBY HODGES (Baylor University), Tonya Nichole Davis (Baylor University), Madison Cloud (Vanderbilt University, Baylor University), Laura Phipps (Baylor University), Regan Weston (Baylor University)
Abstract: Food refusal is a common problem among children with developmental disabilities and may be exhibited in a variety of ways. For example, a child may engage in behaviors such as head turning, batting at the spoon, crying, or tantruming to avoid eating. Generally, these behaviors can be described as noncompliance with instructions to eat. Although existing research indicates the effectiveness of behavioral interventions to treat food refusal, much of this research targets increased food volume and relatively little research targets increased food variability. The current study used differential reinforcement and shaping to increase the variety of foods accepted by two children with autism who demonstrated significant feeding inflexibility. Participants were introduced to four new food items via a hierarchical exposure, which involved systematically increasing the desired response with the food item. Level of food consumption was evaluated using a combined multiple baseline plus changing criterion design. Following intervention, all participants accepted all foods targeted, expanding upon the number of foods consumed.
Failure to Replicate Feeding Improvements With the High-Probability Instructional Sequence in Children With Autism
BRYANT C. SILBAUGH (The University of Texas at Austin, Special Education Department), Terry S. Falcomata (The University of Texas at Austin), Samantha Brooke Swinnea (University of Texas at Austin)
Abstract: Researchers have identified a need for additional replications of promising focused behavioral interventions with positive effects on feeding and mealtime challenging behavior in children with autism and food selectivity (FS). Therefore, the current study assessed the generality of one such promising intervention, the high-probability instructional sequence (HPS), by attempting a replication in children with autism and FS. High inter-observer agreement and treatment fidelity justify strong confidence in the results. We failed to replicate previously reported effects of the HPS on low-probability feeding responses for three consecutive children enrolled in the study. Subsequently, all three children were provided with individualized treatment evaluations until they demonstrated improvements in feeding and mealtime challenging behavior. Pending further research, the current results suggest practitioners should consider ruling out more empirically supported focused behavioral interventions such as escape extinction and differential reinforcement by relying on treatment individualization through rigorous progress monitoring, before applying the HPS to treat FS in children with autism. Implications of the current study for future research and practice are discussed in the context of publishing failures to replicate in applied behavior analysis and other disciplines.
 

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