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.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Invited Paper Session #36
CE Offered: BACB

"Please Take a Bite!" What Behavior Analysis Has to Offer the Field of Childhood Feeding Problems

Saturday, May 26, 2012
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
303/304 (TCC)
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: Keith E. Williams, Ph.D.
Chair: Jennifer M. Asmus (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
KEITH E. WILLIAMS (Penn State Hershey Medical Center)
Keith Williams received his Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He has been the Director of the Feeding Program at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center since 1997, where he supervises multidisciplinary clinics and a day treatment program. Prior to this, he worked with the Kennedy Krieger Institute's Feeding Program. He has over 40 publications in the area of childhood feeding problems including the book, Treating eating problems in children with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities with Richard Foxx. An Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Penn State College of Medicine, he also teaches in Penn State Harrisburg's graduate program in Applied Behavior Analysis. Dr. Williams provides training in the area of feeding throughout Pennsylvania, nationally, and abroad.

Up to 25% of the pediatric population experiences a feeding problem at some point across the span of childhood and this percentage has been found to be even higher among children with special needs and/or chronic health problems. While behavior analysts have been working with children with feeding problems for decades, the number of behavior analysts who work in this area of practice is still limited. There are two main goals of this talk. The first is to review the role behavior analysts have played in the treatment of childhood feeding problems and discuss need for behavior analysts to expand their presence in this area of clinical need. The second is to advocate for the spread of our methodology and interventions to the other disciplines toserve children with feeding problems. While there may now be over 5,000 certified behavior analysts, there over 100,000 occupational therapists and 120,000 speech pathologists in the United States. Providing behavior analytic tools to our colleagues in other allied health disciplines will allow for a larger number of children with feeding problems to receive effective treatment.




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