Comparing behavioral treatment of feeding difficulties and tube dependence in children with cerebral palsy and autism spectrum disorder

Tessa Taylor, Alison M. Kozlowski, Peter A Girolami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Feeding disorders are multifaceted with behavioral components often contributing to the development and continuation of food refusal. In these cases, behavioral interventions are effective in treating feeding problems, even when medical or oral motor components are also involved. Although behavioral interventions for feeding problems are frequently employed with children with autism, they are less commonly discussed for children with cerebral palsy. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of using applied behavior analytic interventions to address feeding difficulties and tube dependence in children with autism and children with cerebral palsy. METHOD: Children ages 1 to 12 years who were enrolled in an intensive feeding program between 2003 and 2013, where they received individualized behavioral treatment, participated. RESULTS: Behavioral treatment components were similar across groups, predominately consisting of escape extinction (e.g., nonremoval of the spoon) and differential reinforcement. For both groups, behavioral treatment was similarly effective in increasing gram consumption and in decreasing refusal and negative vocalizations. A high percentage of individualized goals were met by both groups as well as high caregiver satisfaction reported. CONCLUSIONS: Behavioral interventions for food refusal are effective for children with cerebral palsy with behavioral refusal, just as they are for children with autism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-402
Number of pages8
JournalNeuroRehabilitation
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

Keywords

  • autism spectrum disorder
  • Cerebral palsy
  • food refusal
  • inappropriate mealtime behavior
  • pediatric feeding disorders
  • tube dependence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology

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