WS Hanley 2018. - Part 4
WS Hanley 2018.
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Part 4


Eating with the Family without Tears: An Effective Process for Addressing Food Selectivity


Abstract: Food selectivity is a pervasive problem (67 to 89% of individuals, Silbaugh et al., 2016) among children with developmental disabilities. Food selectivity in this population has primarily been treated through differential reinforcement and extinction. Extinction, especially escape extinction, while efficacious, has multiple potential negative side effects (e.g., increase in problem behaviors such as aggression, gagging, and vomiting). An assessment process for developing a context in which mealtime skills and consumption of non-preferred foods can be shaped without escape extinction and the resulting negative side effects will be described in this session. Once the shaping context is developed, two distinct shaping procedures will be described. Both rely on shaping consumption of non-preferred food with synthesized reinforcers and a partial extinction procedures in which escape is available for all behavior whereas positive reinforcers are only available for appropriate mealtime behaviors that fall within the range dictated by the shaping procedure. One procedure relies on a choice model and reliance on commitment responses and is best suited for children with strong language skills. The other procedures relies on the shaping of mealtime language and toleration skills and is best suited for children with little or emerging language repertoires.



1. An attendee should be able to describe the how to conduct interviews to discover preferred and non-preferred foods and the possible contingencies that maintain food selectivity.

2. An attendee should be able to describe the how to design analyses to demonstrate the validity of the discoveries and develop an ecologically valid and motivating context to address food selectivity.

3. An attendee will be able two shaping processes for addressing food selectivity in leaners with and without strong language repertoires that is capable of promoting consumption of highly non-preferred foods without occasioning emotional responding or severe problem behavior.