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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Symposium #426
Examining Treatment Procedures for Feeding Problems Exhibited by Children With and Without Diagnoses
Monday, May 29, 2017
10:00 AM–11:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 3C
Area: AUT/CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jonathan K Fernand (University of Florida)
Discussant: Kathryn M. Peterson (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
CE Instructor: Jonathan K Fernand, M.A.

The current symposium will focus on extending previous research on the treatment of pediatric feeding problems. The first presentation provides an evaluation of treatment components designed to treat rapid eating. The second presentation focuses on extending reinforcement-based treatments for children of typical development who engage in selective eating habits. The third presentation provides an overview of reinforcement and extinction used to treat food selectivity in children with autism and provides data on changes in food preferences following those treatments. The final presentation also examines reinforcement and extinction in the treatment of food selectivity with a focus on changes in preference and generalization to untreated foods. Participants will obtain an overview of various treatments for feeding problems across different presenting problems and populations. Directions for extending prior literature and the current studies will be discussed.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): Escape extinction, Feeding problems, Food selectivity, Rapid eating

Reduction of Rapid Eating in an Adolescent Female With Autism

Scott Page (California State University, Sacramento ), KRISTIN GRIFFITH (California State University, Sacramento), Becky Penrod (California State University, Sacramento)

Rapid eating is exhibited by both typically developing persons as well as individuals with developmental disabilities and is considered to be a potentially dangerous and socially inappropriate behavior (Favell, McGimsey, & Jones, 1980). The rather limited behavior analytic research on rapid eating has demonstrated that the use of prompts and vibrating pagers (MotivAider) may be an effective and unobtrusive intervention package to reduce the pace of eating (Anglesea, Hoch, Taylor, 2008; Echeverria & Miltenberger, 2013). This study evaluated the use of a vibrating pager combined with a rule for reducing the pace of eating in one adolescent female diagnosed with autism in a multiple probe design across two settings (clinic and home). The primary dependent variable was inter-response time (or time between bites). Results indicated that inter-response time did not increase from baseline levels until after a vocal prompt to wait was introduced. The participants eating pace quickly came under control of the vibrating pager and prompts were naturally faded in the clinic setting. Implications for promoting autonomy in individuals with developmental disabilities will be discussed.


A Comparison of Simultaneous Versus Sequential Meal Presentation With Picky Eaters

COLLEEN WHELAN (California State University, Sacramento), Becky Penrod (California State University, Sacramento)

This study extends the research on the effects of simultaneous and sequential food presentation methods with children who are picky eaters. The sequential presentation method examined in this study differs in portion size from previous examinations of this method. In this study, an age-appropriate sized portion of non-preferred food (NPF) is presented as an appetizer before the participants preferred food (PF) is presented. Participants were required to consume their NPF before gaining access to their PF (i.e., dinner). This Appetizer Presentation Method is compared to a simultaneous presentation method called, Total Meal Presentation. This presentation method closely resembles a typical meal in most households. In the Total Meal Presentation, a whole portion of both the PF and NPF were presented together on the same plate and the participants were allowed to eat what they choose. Two participants, Lars and Marshall are typically developing brothers, ages 6 and 3, participated in this study. The Appetizer Presentation Method, was effective in increasing consumption of NP foods for both participants. Data and participant characteristics will be discussed as they relate to the effectiveness of the Appetizer Presentation Method for varying levels of picky eating and food selectivity.

Evaluation of Extinction in the Treatment of Food Selectivity
JESSICA FOSTER JUANICO (The University of Kansas), Joseph D. Dracobly (Eastern Connecticut State University), Claudia L. Dozier (The University of Kansas), Pamela L. Neidert (The University of Kansas), Bertilde U Kamana (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Sequential presentation (i.e., differential reinforcement of alternative behavior) is a widely used procedure to increase consumption of non-preferred foods in individuals with food selectivity (e.g., Najdowski, Wallace, Doney, & Ghezzi, 2003). Extinction is a critical component of sequential presentation; however, there are often challenges associated with its implementation (e.g., Athens & Vollmer, 2010; Piazza, Moes, & Fisher, 2011). These challenges may make sequential presentation difficult to implement under certain situations (e.g., Pace, Ivancic, & Jefferson, 1994). Thus, the purpose of the current study was to evaluate the effects of sequential presentation with and without extinction. In addition, we conducted pre- and post-preference assessments to determine whether there were any shifts in preference of non-preferred foods following exposure to treatment. Results thus far suggest that sequential presentation is an effective treatment for increasing consumption of non-preferred foods; however, extinction is a necessary component. Additionally, for one participant, acceptance of the non-preferred foods increased during the post-preference assessment as compared to the pre-preference assessment.

An Evaluation of Generalization in the Treatment of Food Selectivity

JONATHAN K FERNAND (University of Florida), Varsovia Hernandez (Universidad Veracruzana), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)

Food selectivity and refusal behavior remain a prevalent problem especially in children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Differential reinforcement combined with escape extinction is often used to treat food selectivity (e.g., Piazza, Patel, Gulotta, Sevin, & Layer, 2003). Escape extinction is effective in treating pediatric feeding problems, yet is often implemented across several foods simultaneously. Thus, the purpose of the current project was to examine the generalization effects of a nonremoval of the spoon procedure on generalized consumption to nonpreferred foods with similar or dissimilar properties as the treatment food. The current study evaluated implementation across one food at a time for four separate subjects and measured pre- and post-treatment preference changes. Implications for research and clinical practice for long-term treatments will be discussed.




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