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.


49th Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2023

Event Details

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Symposium #200
CE Offered: BACB — 
Providing Feeding Services in a Service Desert
Sunday, May 28, 2023
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 2A
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Hallie Smith (Mississippi State University )
CE Instructor: Hallie Smith, Ph.D.

Picky eating is a normal phase of child development, but what happens when it goes beyond general pickiness? Pediatric Feeding Disorder (PFD; Goday et al., 2019) affects up to 25% of the general population and 80% of children with developmental disabilities (Galai et al., 2022). It is reported that children on the autism spectrum are five times more likely than their peers to develop PFD and to require intervention (Bareaskewich et al., 2021). Without treatment, PFD can lead to increased caregiver stress, impaired development, poor nutrition, and other health concerns (Kozlowski et al., 2015; Silverman et al., 2020). The assessment and treatment of feeding disorders by behavior analysts requires specialized training and collaboration with an interdisciplinary team (Tereshko et al, 2021). Unfortunately, in areas where behavior analytic services are more sparse, many providers do not have access to the appropriate training, supervision, or resources needed to treat this complex disorder. The purpose of this symposium is to discuss the training and supervision of future behavior analysts to treat PFD, ethical considerations and the importance of care integration when working with this population, and innovative ways that providers in service deserts are treating these patients.

Instruction Level: Advanced
Keyword(s): Ethical Considerations, Feeding Disorders, Interdisciplinary Care, Service Accessibility
Target Audience:

We have classified this training as advanced; the presentation is focused specifically on providing services to a niche population that requires the behavior analyst in question to have specific training. Attendees are encouraged to have a baseline knowledge of pediatric feeding disorders and an interest in furthering their knowledge to better improve their practice or train future practitioners.

Learning Objectives: 1) Identify appropriate stakeholders needed to effectively and ethically treat a child with a pediatric feeding disorder. 2) Describe training strategies appropriate for teaching future behavior analyst to treat pediatric feeding disorders. 3) Apply the use of digital health services to the treatment of pediatric feeding disorders, specifically in underserved areas.

Feeding Intervention in Traditional Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Settings: To Feed or Not to Feed

GARET S. EDWARDS (GulfSouth Autism Center), Bradley Scott Bloomfield (Monash University), Christina Gladden (Gulfsouth Autism Center)

Children with autism and other developmental disabilities frequently present to traditional ABA clinics with a comorbid diagnosis of Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) or Pediatric Feeding Disorder (PFD). These children may have been enrolled and discharged from a multidisciplinary feeding program, may be currently receiving feeding therapy services, or may have not had access to feeding therapy yet. In some instances, it may be appropriate for behavior analysts to continue feeding intervention in order to increase variety, develop self-feeding, or to promote generalization and maintenance in novel settings. The purpose of this presentation is to review ethical considerations when providing behavioral intervention for feeding concerns in traditional ABA or early intervention clinics. Consultation with external providers from relevant disciplines and common intervention strategies to promote generalization and maintenance will also be discussed.

A Model for Establishing Pediatric Feeding Services and Training Future Providers in a Rural Community
HALLIE SMITH (Mississippi State University ), Hailey Ripple (Mississippi State University Pediatric Feeding Lab)
Abstract: One of the contributing factors to the lack of behavior analysts who address pediatric feeding disorders (PFD) is the limited opportunity for master’s level behavior analysts to receive training and supervision in this area during their training. Most providers who specialize in the assessment and treatment of PFD had the opportunity to train in one of the few intensive, multidisciplinary feeding programs housed in hospitals in urban areas; these training experiences are primarily reserved for doctoral level clinical psychologists and not master’s level BCBA’s. As a result, there are few providers who have the skills to implement feeding interventions, much less design them. This presentation will describe the development of a university-based lab that allows faculty with expertise in PFD to conduct research while providing services to high-need areas while simultaneously training graduate students to implement and develop treatment to address PFD. Presenters will discuss how this model fills the gap in the training and availability of practitioners who provide feeding services. Presenters will discuss the development of this lab while highlighting the training methods used to increase competency of master’s level students with the implementation of feeding protocols, data collection and analysis procedures, and clinical decision making.
The Digital Age of Feeding Therapy
ANNE H LIPSCOMB (Ochsner Hospital for Children), Margaret Bernheim Powell (Ochsner Hospital for Children)
Abstract: During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw a drastic increase in the use of digital health services among behavior analysts. In addition to telehealth services being a practical way to observe generalization of treatment at home, it is also beneficial in increasing access to feeding services for both patients and providers who may not have access to certain specialties due to location. Additionally, therapists are able to use digital health services to provide preventative programming for patients at risk for developing a Pediatric Feeding Disorder (PFD). This presentation will discuss the innovative ways in which behavior analysts trained to treat PFD have utilized digital health services to increase access to behavioral feeding services. Presenters will discuss how digital health services are beneficial for not only reaching those patients in more rural areas but bridging the gap between specialties through virtual consultation. Presenters will provide information on the use of outpatient telehealth services, virtual co-treatment services with occupational and speech therapists, preventative webinars, and waitlist workshops to treat PFD.



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