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 #214
Assessment and Treatment of Feeding Problems: Reinforcer Manipulations and Applications to Alternative Settings
Sunday, May 27, 2007
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
Edward C
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Gregory K. Reed (Howard University)
Discussant: Charles S. Gulotta (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: This symposium will discuss a variety of issues related to the assessment and treatment of feeding problems, including the utility of home and community-based treatment approaches, food stimulus manipulations, and reinforcement-based intervention.
The Effects of Bolus Size on Food Refusal and Aggression during Intensive Outpatient Treatment.
DANIELLE N. DOLEZAL (Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins University), John M. Huete (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Nicole B. Carman (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: In the current investigation, we evaluated the effectiveness of varying amounts of food on the spoon (empty, ¼ spoon, ½ spoon, and full level spoon) during the treatment of food refusal and aggression displayed by a young boy in an outpatient setting. The participant was an eight-year-old boy diagnosed with cerebral palsy, moderate mental retardation, autism, and failure to thrive. He received his entire caloric intake via a gastrostomy tube. The results of a functional analysis suggested that his aggression and food refusal were maintained by escape from food presentations. Second, an analysis of bolus size within a treatment package that consisted of escape extinction and differential reinforcement of bites accepted indicated that higher rates of aggression and food refusal were associated with larger bolus sizes. Based on the bolus size analysis, we evaluated the use of a fading and bite interspersal procedure designed to reduce aggression and food refusal behaviors across home and clinic settings.
Assessment and Treatment of Feeding Disorders: Community-Based Applications.
ANJALI BARRETTO (Gonzaga University), Margaret Armstrong (Gonzaga University), K. Mark Derby (Gonzaga University)
Abstract: Research in the area of behavioral feeding disorders has primarily been conducted in center-based programs, which are limited to certain areas. However, given the prevalence of behavioral feeding disorders and the lack of center-based programs in certain areas it is necessary that such interventions be conducted by the child’s care provider in the natural setting. This study discusses the community-based assessment and treatment of feeding disorders conducted by the Gonzaga Center for Applied Behavior Analysis over the past 5 years. A case example conducted in the schools will be discussed. The participant was 10 years old and diagnosed with autism. The assessment and treatment were conducted in the classroom by the special education teacher. Treatment included differential reinforcement to increase variety of foods. Interobserver agreement was taken for 30% of the sessions. Results will be discussed relative to robustness of intervention, procedural integrity, and reinforcer identification.
Manipulation of Positive Reinforcers in the Absence of Escape Extinction to Treat Feeding Problems in Children.
MELANIE H. BACHMEYER (University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (University of Iowa), Linda J. Cooper-Brown (University of Iowa), Brenda J. Engebretson (University of Iowa), Anuradha Dutt (University of Iowa)
Abstract: Feeding problems encompass a variety of behaviors that include food selectivity and inadequate food intake. Previous studies implementing treatments combining escape extinction and positive reinforcement procedures have showed that although escape extinction was an active variable, positive reinforcement was also associated with some beneficial effects. This study examined the effects of manipulating the quality of positive reinforcers in the absence of escape extinction to treat feeding problems in 2 children diagnosed with pediatric feeding disorders. For participant 1, the quality of preferred foods was manipulated to treat food selectivity by type. For participant 2, the quality of toys and attention was manipulated to treat inadequate food intake. For both participants, food acceptance increased when the quality of the positive reinforcer was increased even though escape from bites was available. Treatment gains were thus achieved without the use of escape extinction. Interobserver agreement was obtained during 30% of sessions with mean occurrence agreement of at least 90% for both participants. These data are discussed in relation to the effectiveness of manipulating positive reinforcement procedures to compete with negative reinforcement maintaining food refusal and the utility of using positive reinforcers as a viable treatment for some topographies of feeding problems.



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