Restricted interests are a common and core feature of autism spectrum disorder, and one common restricted set of interests is food selectivity. Much of the research and clinical work has involved use of more aversive techniques such as escape extinction. It is possible that the observational learning methods employed in previous studies to increase engagement with less preferred play items, could be successful in increasing engagement and consumption of less preferred food items for individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an observational learning procedure on the selection and ingestion of food items of three children diagnosed with ASD. Following identifying high- and low-preferred foods through a paired stimulus preference assessment, baseline consisted of the participants engaging in a simple task after which they were provided with a choice between the two foods and a control card. The intervention consisted of observing an adult engage in the same task and selecting the low-preferred food while making favorable comments and engaging with the food in novel ways. The results of a reversal design demonstrated partial replication of previous studies with the use of food items. That is, across the three participants there were varying levels of effectiveness of the observational learning procedure.
|Advisor:||Weiss, Mary Jane|
|Commitee:||Leaf, Justin B., Zane, Thomas, Ross, Robert K.|
|Department:||Applied Behavioral Analysis|
|School Location:||United States -- Massachusetts|
|Source:||DAI-B 81/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Psychology, Behavioral psychology, Behavioral Sciences|
|Keywords:||Autism, Food selectivity, Observation, Preferences|
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