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.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #423
CE Offered: BACB
Food Selectivity and Refusal: Home and School Case Studies of Evaluation, Interventions, Outcomes, and Limitations
Monday, May 28, 2007
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Elizabeth G
Area: AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Joseph Gentry (The May Institute)
Discussant: Robert F. Putnam (The May Institute)
CE Instructor: Colleen Ann O'Leary-Zonarich, M.A.

Research has shown positive reinforcement to be an effective strategy for increasing food consumption in children with developmental disabilities who display food selectivity/refusal. Three papers will review background, incidence, significance, assessment, intervention, outcomes, and limitations with three different students diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorders who display food selectivity and/or refusal across home and school environments. Each paper will discuss systematic intervention, including a variety of antecedent and consequence strategies used to promote increased food consumption across home and/or school environments. Papers will also present individualized programs tailored to the child and team and that using one or more types of interventions concurrently or with multiple baseline approaches may generate outcomes quickly to create team confidence. The impact of several variables will be presented; including, developing technically sound protocols, identifying functional reinforcers, promoting comprehensive team involvement and communication, treatment integrity, data collection, and limitations of interventions. Results presented will show significant improvements in meal times and increased food consumption for all three children, with results sustained over time with maintenance procedures in place.

Getting Started at Home and School: Feeding Assessment and Intervention to Increase Consumption.
Abstract: This paper will discuss the initial feeding evaluation process and intervention completed with a 6-year-old girl diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder who also displayed severe food selectivity. Assessment and intervention was completed across home and school environments. Assessment procedures and results will be reviewed to highlight critical planning logistics involved when initiating feeding protocols. Procedures used included a multiple baseline format (across settings and adults) and a combination of sampling, blending, and fading procedures paired with positive reinforcement. Results will indicate an increase in the number of nutritious foods and drinks accepted from baseline levels, which is consistent with documented research suggesting that similar antecedent control procedures are effective in treating food selectivity. Discussion points will include staff and parent training procedural options considered, logistical issues, differences across settings and adults, and the continued need for and impact of strong programming in public school systems.
Enhancing the Effectiveness of Blending Treatments: Mystery Motivator and Positive Reinforcement to Increase Food Consumption.
LAURIE KAUFMAN (The May Institute), Joseph Gentry (The May Institute)
Abstract: This case study evaluated the impact of a modified Mystery Motivator system on a food blending treatment to increase the consumption of non-preferred foods in a child with autism displaying food selectivity. In previous research, use of the Mystery Motivator has led to increases in the consumption of non-preferred foods with a child on the spectrum. The use of positive reinforcement in the form of finishing preferred foods as well as earning tokens was used to replicate previous findings and extend them using blending techniques. Blending treatment has been well established throughout the literature for food refusal and selectivity, and results suggest that the reinforcement uncertainty and variable ratio of reinforcement of the Mystery Motivator may be an interesting way to increase the effectiveness of blending treatments in children with developmental disabilities.
treatments in children with developmental disabilities Increasing Food Acceptance Using Blending and Subsequent Simultaneous Presentation within the Public School Setting.
CYNTHIA ANN SIMONE (Nashoba Regional School District)
Abstract: Previous research demonstrated that food refusal maintained by escape can be treated effectively through combining antecedent and consequent manipulations. In the current study, we used a multi-component treatment package following both functional and feeding assessments to treat food refusal by blending and fading foods and then presenting accepted foods paired with novel foods through simultaneous presentation. An 8-year old male with multiple disabilities was trained and assessed in the public school setting across 2 years in a changing criterion design. Results indicated an increase in novel food acceptance and combinations of food from 9 in baseline to 35 following intervention. Results were maintained over time. These results were consistent with prior research suggesting that antecedent control procedures are effective in treating food refusal. These results are discussed in terms of blending and fading procedures, simultaneous presentation, escape extinction and reinforcement as well as limitations and practical considerations within this setting.



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