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.


11th International Conference; Dublin, Ireland; 2022

Event Details

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Paper Session #37
Food selectivity
Friday, September 2, 2022
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
Meeting Level 1: Liffey B
Area: AUT
Chair: Giulia Ferrazzi (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia)

Food Selectivity and Inflexible Behavior: A Matching Law Based Procedure to Manage New Choices

Domain: Applied Research
GIULIA FERRAZZI (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia), Elisa Leucci (AARBA), Valeria Mendozzi (AARBA)

Food selectivity is a problem often associated with autism spectrum disorder (Bandini et al., 2017). It tends to manifest itself with various change-resistant behaviors (Fisher et al., 2019), leading to inappropriate diets and nutritional deficits that negatively affect the life of the individuals and their families (Tiger, Hanley & Hernandez 2006). The aim of the research is to implement the food repertoire of a child diagnosed with autism. In particular, the goal is to make children accept solid foods instead of those with a liquid consistency. Furthermore, it is proposed to analyze how some kind of environment could influence food selectivity more than others. The results show an increasing collaboration of the child in the consumption of alternative foods. The intervention appears to be effective in the treatment of Food Selectivity. We used a “multiple baseline across setting” to analyze data.


Reducing Food Selectivity and Mealtime Problem Behaviors in Non/Minimally Verbal Children With Autism

Domain: Applied Research
ROSARIA BENINCASA (Neapolisanit Rehabilitation Center ), Floriana Canniello (Neapolisanit Rehabilitation Center ), Davide D'Elia (Neapolisanit Rehabilitation Center ), Maria Gallucci (AIAS Onlus sez.Nola ), Roberta Simeoli (Affiliation One: Federico II University of Naples Affiliation Two: Neapolisanit Rehabilitation Center), Mariangela Cerasuolo (Affiliation One: University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli" Affiliation Two: AIAS Onlus sez.Nola), LUIGI IOVINO (Neapolisanit Center)

Various forms of escape extinction are frequently used to treat food selectivity, which is common in autism. However, although effective in expanding food repertoire, this strategy may result in increased problem behaviors, such as aggression, self-injury, retching or vomiting. Here, we used a modified version of the Skill-Based Treatment (SBT, Hanley et al., 2014) to treat food selectivity and mealtime problem behaviors. Three non/minimally verbal ASD children (mean age=5.67) with severe food selectivity were recruited for the study. Each child underwent an assessment process including a food preference assessment and a mealtime problem behavior analysis using the Practical Functional Assessment (Hanley et al., 2014). An adapted version of the SBT protocol was used based on shaping response topographies with partial extinction procedures. Social validity was assessed using a 7-point scale. After the treatment, participants’ food repertoire increased, whereas the number of mealtime problem behaviors decreased. In addition, the rate of acceptance of subsequent foods increased faster, and treatment effects were successfully transferred to other settings and persons. Finally, caregivers recognized the social validity of the protocol, by reporting high levels of satisfaction and usability and lower stress levels after the treatment.




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