A Systematic Synthesis of Behavioral Interventions for Food Selectivity of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders


This systematic review provides a synthesis of behavioral interventions for food selectivity in children with autism spectrum disorder. A multistep search strategy was employed to identify experimental studies published in peer-reviewed journals between 1984 and 2015. A total of 31 studies met inclusion criteria. Participant characteristics, study characteristics, and intervention outcomes were summarized and appraised to identify evidence-based practices. The results suggest that behavioral interventions of food selectivity for children with autism spectrum disorder are often effective at improving feeding behavior (e.g., increasing acceptance and swallowing of target foods), but evidence for adequate reduction of mealtime challenging behavior is lacking, and the studies reviewed fell short of meeting a set of standards for evidence-based practices in special education. Treatment recommendations and directions for future research are discussed.


Silbaugh, B. C., Penrod, B., Whelan, C. M., Hernandez, D. A., Wingate, H. V., Falcomata, T. S., & Lang, R. (2016). A systematic synthesis of behavioral interventions for food selectivity of children with autism spectrum disorders. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s40489-016-0087-8