Comparing selective eaters with and without developmental disabilities

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Food selectivity has been a problem identified in children with and without disabilities. This study examined 178 children referred to a feeding program for the evaluation and treatment of food selectivity. This sample was divided into three groups; children with autism spectrum disorders, children with special needs without autism, and children without special needs. Children with autism spectrum disorders insisted on using the same utensil or dish and insisted on having food prepared in a certain way significantly more often than other children. Children with special needs had significantly more problems with spitting out food as well as oral motor delays than other children. Children without special needs had significantly more problems with anxiety or obsessive-compulsive behaviors than other children. Most caregivers reported their child's feeding problems started prior to 18 months of age and persisted longer than 24 months, which is inconsistent with the hypothesis that food selectivity, at least for some children, is not a transient phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-309
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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