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Title: An investigation of the type of feeding behaviour problems in children diagnosed with autism
Author: Tutton, Tom
ISNI:       0000 0001 3540 0635
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2002
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Feeding problems occur frequently in children with autism and are characterised by a very selective type of problem. However, studies show inadequate or poorly reported methodology. Selective feeding behaviours have a prima facie link to the diagnostic category of repetitive and stereotyped behaviours in autism. Despite this, only one study has explored this link and, although no link was demonstrated, the ability of this study to generalise findings to the wider autistic population was limited. The empirical demonstration that repetitive behaviours are linked to selective feeding problems has implications for the assessment and treatment of feeding problems in autism. The aim of this study was to explore the link between repetitive behaviour and selective and ritualistic feeding problems. Three hypotheses were proposed: a sample of autistic children will have a higher incidence of eating behaviour problems when compared with a matched group of LD children, these problems will be different in type, and, in the autism group, be associated with compulsive repetitive behaviours and other mediating variables. A between groups design was employed to compare 25 autistic children to a control group of 17 children with a Leaming Disability matched for gender, age and intellectual ability. Three experimental measures were used, a measure of total feeding problems, a measure of type of feeding problem, and a measure of repetitive behaviour. The first hypothesis was not supported. The hypothesis that the autism group would have increased selective feeding problems, such as only eating specific types of food, was also not supported. In the autism group, the frequency of selective feeding problems was found to be associated with the total compulsive repetitive behaviours, supporting the hypothesis that repetitive behaviours are implicated in selective feeding problems in autism. Limitations of the study and implications for future research are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Autistic