A treatment package without escape extinction to address food selectivity

Jessica Weber, Anibal Gutierrez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Feeding difficulties and feeding disorders are a commonly occurring problem for young children, particularly children with developmental delays including autism. Behavior analytic interventions for the treatment of feeding difficulties oftentimes include escape extinction as a primary component of treatment. The use of escape extinction, while effective, may be problematic as it is also associated with the emergence of challenging behavior (e.g., extinction burst). Such challenging behavior may be an acceptable side effect in treatment cases where feeding problems are severe and chronic (e.g., failure to thrive). However, in more acute cases (e.g., selective eating), the negative side effect may be unwarranted and undesired. More recent research on the behavioral treatment of food selectivity has begun to evaluate treatments for feeding difficulties that do not include escape extinction (e.g., demand fading, behavioral momentum), with some success. However, research to date reveals individual differences in responsiveness to such treatments and no clear preferable treatment has emerged. This manuscript describes a multi-component treatment package that includes shaping, sequential presentation and simultaneous presentation, for the treatment of food selectivity in four young children with developmental delays. This treatment package extends the literature on the behavioral treatment for food selectivity and offers a multi-component treatment protocol that may be clinically applicable across a range of treatment scenarios and settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere52898
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number102
StatePublished - Aug 21 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Autism
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Behavior
  • Children
  • Escape extinction
  • Food selectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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