ERIC Number: EJ1033339
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Aug
Abstractor: As Provided
The Autism MEAL Plan: A Parent-Training Curriculum to Manage Eating Aversions and Low Intake among Children with Autism
Sharp, William G.; Burrell, T. Lindsey; Jaquess, David L.
Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, v18 n6 p712-722 Aug 2014
Feeding problems represent a frequent concern reported by caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorders, and growing evidence suggests atypical patterns of intake may place this population at risk of nutritional and/or related medical issues, including chronic vitamin and mineral deficiencies, poor bone growth, and obesity. This combination of factors emphasizes a clear need to identify and disseminate evidence-based treatment of feeding problems associated with autism spectrum disorders. Behavioral intervention represents an effective treatment for chronic feeding concerns in this population; however, evidence has largely been established with trained therapists working in highly structured settings. This pilot study seeks to fill this gap in the literature by describing and evaluating the Autism MEAL Plan, a behaviorally based parent-training curriculum to address feeding problems associated with autism spectrum disorders. We assessed the feasibility of the intervention in terms of program content and study protocol (e.g. recruitment and retention of participants, assessment procedures), as well as efficacy in terms of changes in feeding behaviors. A total of 10 families participated in the treatment condition, and the program was evaluated using a waitlist control design (n = 9), representing the first randomized-control study of a feeding intervention in autism spectrum disorders. Results provide provisional support regarding the utility of the program, including high social validity, parent perception of effectiveness, and reduced levels of caregiver stress following intervention. Implications, limitations, and future directions for this line of research are discussed.
Descriptors: Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Parents, Food, Eating Habits, Nutrition, Intervention, Parent Education, Program Effectiveness, Program Evaluation, Validity, Parent Attitudes, Child Caregivers, Stress Management, Young Children, Measures (Individuals), Statistical Analysis, Feasibility Studies, Control Groups, Experimental Groups
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Parenting Stress Index