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A family centered, positive behaviour support aproach to food refusal behaviour Binnendyk, Lauren

Abstract

Many parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) commonly report a struggle to cope with their child's food refusal behaviour. Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of interventions based on applied behaviour analysis for increasing food acceptance and decreasing mealtime problem behaviour among children with developmental disabilities; however, these studies also revealed several limitations that may affect the acceptability, meaningfulness, and durability of outcomes. These limitations have been addressed by an approach to problem behaviour closely allied with applied behaviour analysis. This approach is called Positive Behaviour Support (PBS). The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a parent-implemented, positive behaviour support plan that is based on a functional assessment and feeding assessment, for improving eating behaviour for a child with ASD during a home-based snack routine. The study employed a quasi-experimental, case study design with one eating routine, using a multiple probe strategy. Results showed improvements in child eating behaviour and participation within the snack routine following training and support activities. These improvements maintained six weeks after the termination of implementation support. Implementation of the positive behaviour support approach also was associated with generalization of the child's eating behaviour to new foods and to the child's father's successful implementation the snack routine. The results are discussed with reference to previous research, contributions, future directions, and implications for practitioners and researchers who are involved in behavioural feeding interventions.

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