Multidisciplinary intervention for childhood feeding difficulties

Marshall, Jeanne, Hill, Rebecca J., Ware, Robert S., Ziviani, Jenny and Dodrill, Pamela (2015) Multidisciplinary intervention for childhood feeding difficulties. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 60 5: 680-687. doi:10.1097/MPG.0000000000000669

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Author Marshall, Jeanne
Hill, Rebecca J.
Ware, Robert S.
Ziviani, Jenny
Dodrill, Pamela
Title Multidisciplinary intervention for childhood feeding difficulties
Journal name Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1536-4801
Publication date 2015-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1097/MPG.0000000000000669
Volume 60
Issue 5
Start page 680
End page 687
Total pages 8
Place of publication Philadelphia, PA, United States
Publisher Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: The aim of the study was to determine whether operant conditioning (OC) or systematic desensitization (SysD) intervention resulted in more improvements in dietary variety/intake, and more reductions in difficult mealtime behaviors.

Methods: Children 2 to 6 years with autism spectrum disorder or with a nonmedically complex history were recruited. Feeding difficulties were confirmed based on clinical assessment. Participants were randomized to receive 10 OC or SysD sessions (parents could opt for intervention once per week, or intensively within a week). Immersive parent education was delivered across both arms. A 3-month review was provided to measure outcomes postintervention.

Results: In total, 68 participants (87%) completed the study. There were no significant differences in outcome measures between the OC and SysD intervention groups from baseline to 3-month review. When the data were combined across both groups, however, significant improvements in primary outcome measures were observed (P < 0.05). Although not statistically significant, it was considered clinically significant that participants in the OC arm demonstrated more increases in dietary variety (mean difference 3.3 foods, 95% confidence interval -0.1 to 6.8, P = 0.06) compared with the SysD arm. There were limited differences in response observed between the autism spectrum disorder and nonmedically complex history groups, and the intensive and weekly arms.

Conclusions: Favorable results were observed regardless of intervention, intensity, or etiological group. Results suggest that, when delivered to a protocol by experienced therapists and coupled with parent education, these 2 intervention approaches are effective. Further research is required in exploring these interventions across other subgroups, and examining outcomes for longer periods.
Keyword Autism spectrum disorders
Feeding difficulties
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications
Child Health Research Centre Publications
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