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Examining Child Mealtime Behavior Following the Implementation of Behavioral Treatments for Food Refusal

Principal Investigator:
Carrie
Borrero

Behavioral treatment of pediatric feeding disorders focuses on weakening or eliminating environmental contingencies that support food refusal and arranging contingencies to increase the likelihood of appropriate mealtime behavior (e.g., accepting bites, swallowing).

Previous research has found that oftentimes escape extinction is a necessary component to decrease refusal and increase a child’s acceptance of bites (Ahearn et al., 1996; Coe et al., 1997; Cooper et al., 1995). The implementation of extinction procedures can, however, result in a temporary increase in the target response before the response is extinguished (Lerman & Iwata 1995; Lerman, Iwata, & Wallace, 1999). Piazza et al. (2003) and Reed et al. (2004) have demonstrated with a small number of children that reinforcement procedures may attenuate this temporary increase in the target response.

The purpose of the current investigation was to evaluate the effects of various treatment procedures immediately following their implementation.

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