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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Workshop Details

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Workshop #W41
CE Offered: BACB
The Treatment of Feeding Challenges in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Friday, May 22, 2009
6:00 PM–9:00 PM
North 125
Area: AUT/CSE; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
CE Instructor: Bethany L. McNamara, M.S.
Kristen Powers (The Center for Children with Special Needs), MARK J. PALMIERI (The Center for Children with Speical Needs), John D. Molteni (The Center for Children with Special Needs)
Description: Parents and caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorders often report feeding difficulties (Ahearn et al., 2001). Feeding challenges are substantially more prevalent among individuals with autism spectrum disorders (Keen, 2008; Schreck et al. 2004). Specifically, DeMeyer (1979) notes the prevalence of feeding difficulties as reported by the parents of children with autism spectrum disorders at 94% as compared with 59% for typically developing preschoolers. Aberrant feeding behaviors often include restrictive food selectivity, liquid refusal, and ritualized eating patterns (Ahearn et al., 2001; Kirkland, 1994; Williams et al., 2005). Analyses have been conducted to examine the function of these behaviors (Munk & Repp, 1994; Piazza et al., 2003; Williams et al., 2007). Though not as well understood, the impact of oral-motor skill deficits on adequate nutrition is a clear concern (Collins et al., 2003; Gibbons et al., 2007). Given the combination of behavioral and oral-motor challenges faced by children with autism spectrum disorders, families and caregivers encounter special difficulties in their attempts to provide healthy and adaptive mealtime experiences. A community based treatment model addressing behavioral and oral-motor components of feeding including direct intervention and family training will be discussed and will include didactic and hands-on activities for attendees.
Learning Objectives: Participants will be able to identify: 1. Behavioral and oral motor components of feeding 2. Challenges involved in feeding with children with autism spectrum disorders 3. Assessment procedures for identifying behavioral and oral motor aspects of feeding 4. Intervention procedures for addressing feeding problems 5. Social validity assessment procedures for community based interventions
Activities: Participants will demonstrate: 1. Ability to execute behavioral assessments of feeding (e.g., functional assessment, preference assessment). 2. Ability to implement components of feeding intervention protocols. 3. Ability to select appropriate foods and/or utensils to address feeding problems based on individually-derived data on the client’s social context and behavioral and oral motor needs. 4. Ability to implement data collection procedures for monitoring progress and making decisions regarding feeding interventions.
Audience: Providers offering or supervising services to individuals with behaviorally-based feeding challenges. Typically including: behavior analysts, clinical psychologists, special educators, clinical directors, speech and language pathologists, and occupational therapists.
Content Area: Practice
Instruction Level: Basic



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