A Comparison of Modified Food Chaining and Simultaneous Presentation Plus Nonremoval of the Spoon to Treat Food Selectivity in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
McHugh, Catherine L.
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Feeding disorders can range from mild (e.g., food selectivity by taste or texture) to severe (e.g., total food refusal; Bachmeyer, 2009). If left untreated, feeding disorders can result in serious health ramifications, including malnutrition, growth delays, and developmental delays (Kern & Marder, 1996). Recent studies comparing commonly used occupational therapy (OT) treatments and empirically supported applied behavior analysis (ABA) treatments found that the ABA treatments were effective for all children while the OT treatments were ineffective for all children exposed to the OT treatment (Addison et al., 2012; Peterson, Piazza, & Volkert, 2016). We used a multielement design to compare a modified version of a commonly used treatment, food chaining, and an empirically validated ABA treatment to treat the food selectivity of 2 children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). For both children, consumption of the target foods only increased during the ABA-treatment condition. We subsequently faded the size of the preferred food within the simultaneous-presentation arrangement, moved to a sequential-presentation arrangement, and then thinned the schedule of reinforcement. We will discuss the results within the context of treatment implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research.