Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Utilizing Antecedent Manipulations and Reinforcement in the Treatment of Food Selectivity by Texture

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Utilizing Antecedent Manipulations and Reinforcement in the Treatment of Food Selectivity by Texture

Article excerpt

Abstract

Food selectivity by texture is relatively common in children. Treatments for food selectivity by texture have included components such as stimulus fading, reinforcement, and escape extinction. The purpose of the current study was to attempt to treat food selectivity by texture utilizing antecedent manipulations and reinforcement in the absence of escape extinction. The current study utilized texture fading and simultaneous presentation to treat food selectivity by texture in a young boy with autism. Experimenters successfully increased the boy's food consumption using this treatment package in a clinical setting. Then, the boy's parents were trained to implement procedures both in the clinical and home settings.

Keywords: differential reinforcement, feeding problems, food selectivity, parents, simultaneous presentation, simultaneous reinforcement, texture fading

Food selectivity by texture is relatively common in children. In fact, a study conducted by Field, Garland, and Williams (2003) found that 26% of children who participated presented with food selectivity by texture. This number was even higher at 31% for children with autism. Children presenting with food selectivity by texture tend to consume a small variety of textures and reject most novel textures. For example, parents of these children often report that their children are still eating jarred and pureed baby foods.

Treatments for food selectivity by texture have included components such as stimulus fading, reinforcement, and escape extinction (EE). For example, Luiselli and Gleason (1987) treated almost total food refusal in a 4-year-old girl who only consumed milk and occasionally pureed baby foods by gradually increasing the textures of foods, providing reinforcement contingent on consuming foods presented, and using EE in the form of physically guiding the girl to open her mouth by lightly separating her lips with one hand and inserting a spoon.

In another example, Shore, Babbitt, Williams, Coe, & Snyder (1998) treated various feeding problems in four children by gradually increasing the textures of the foods presented to participants, providing reinforcement contingent on accepting and swallowing foods, and using EE in the form of nonremoval of the spoon.

One common feature of these two studies is that in addition to using antecedent manipulations and reinforcement to treat feeding problems, EE was used. EE has been shown to be an instrumental component of treatments for feeding problems (Piazza, 2008), as oftentimes without EE, feeding problems are not eliminated. However, the use of EE can also be accompanied by unwanted side effects such as extinction bursts (Piazza, Patel, Gulotta, Sevin, & Layer, 2003). These effects could potentially adversely affect caregiver satisfaction with procedures as well procedural integrity during parent-conducted sessions resulting in a possible relapse of child behaviors associated with food selectivity.

Given these potential side effects, it is important that techniques that do not include EE be explored in the treatment of feeding problems of a less severe nature. Several interventions have been reported to successfully treat feeding problems in the absence of EE, such as: differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA; e.g., Brown, Spencer, & Swift, 2002; Riordan, Iwata, Finney, Wohl, & Stanley, 1984), simultaneous presentation (e.g., Ahearn, 2003; Buckley & Newchok, 2005; Piazza et al., 2002), peer-modeling combined with differential reinforcement (Sira & Fryling, in press), stimulus fading (Tiger & Hanley, 2006), and noncontingent reinforcement (Wilder, Normand, & At well, 2005). However, published attempts to treat food selectivity by texture without the use of EE are nonexistent in the feeding literature as far as we are aware.

The purpose of the current study was to attempt to treat food selectivity by texture utilizing antecedent manipulations and reinforcement in the absence of EE. …

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