Clinical Forum  |   April 2008
Addressing Feeding Disorders in Children on the Autism Spectrum in School-Based Settings: Physiological and Behavioral Issues
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jennifer Twachtman-Reilly
    Autism & Developmental Disabilities Consultation Center, LLC, Higganum, CT
  • Sheryl C. Amaral
    Cumberland School Department, Cumberland, RI
  • Patrecia P. Zebrowski
    Sargent Rehabilitation Center, Warwick, RI
  • Contact author: Jennifer Twachtman-Reilly, Autism and Developmental Disabilities Consultation Center, LLC, P. O. Box 709, Higganum, CT 06441-0709. E-mail: jtreillyslp@sbcglobal.net.
Article Information
Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Clinical Forum
Clinical Forum   |   April 2008
Addressing Feeding Disorders in Children on the Autism Spectrum in School-Based Settings: Physiological and Behavioral Issues
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2008, Vol. 39, 261-272. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2008/025)
History: Received April 4, 2006 , Revised January 2, 2007 , Accepted June 18, 2007
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2008, Vol. 39, 261-272. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2008/025)
History: Received April 4, 2006; Revised January 2, 2007; Accepted June 18, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 12

Purpose: The purposes of this article are to define the nature of feeding difficulties in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), identify important components of the assessment and treatment of feeding disorders specific to this population, and delineate specific therapeutic techniques designed to improve assessment and treatment within the school setting.

Method: Literature review and case example are used to define the predominant nature of the feeding difficulties that are experienced by some children on the autism spectrum. Characteristics of this complex disorder that can have an impact on feeding skill and behavior are also identified. These factors are then integrated to create assessment and intervention techniques that can be used in conjunction with traditional feeding approaches to facilitate improvements in eating in this unique population.

Implications: The complex nature of ASD and its many influences on feeding skills and behavior create the need for modification to both assessment and treatment approaches. Additional research is needed to create therapeutic protocols that can be used by school-based speech-language pathologists to effectively assess and treat feeding difficulties that are commonly encountered in children with ASD.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors would like to acknowledge the research assistance of the librarians at the Charles E. Shain Library at Connecticut College and Sturdy Memorial Hospital. Appreciation is also expressed to those who lent their expertise to us in the form of personal communications and research assistance: Sharon Greis, Emily M. Homer, Michael L. Cuccaro, and Robin L. Gabriels. The authors are also grateful for the editorial assistance and expertise of Diane Twachtman-Cullen and the technical assistance of Rachel Vitello and Meghan Krodel.
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