Multicomponent Treatment for Food Selectivity in Children: Description and Case Report

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Food selectivity is common in children with and without developmental disabilities and can have negative implications for nutrition intake and family quality of life. The evidence base for effective treatment protocols is still developing.


The purpose of this study was to describe a pilot, multicomponent treatment protocol for food selectivity and present several case examples using a retrospective chart review. Elements in the treatment manual included sensory integration and behavioral modification strategies, including systematic desensitization. Also, parents were educated on factors associated with food selectivity and strategies for increasing food acceptance during family meals.


Four children with food selectivity demonstrated increased food acceptance of previously refused foods. Incidence of negative behaviors, including gagging, vomiting, and aggressive behavior (eg, hitting, batting away spoon), during clinical meals was also evaluated. No aggressive behavior or vomiting was observed during treatment sessions, and gagging on foods at initial introduction was minimal.


This descriptive study and case review provides information to inform treatment of food selectivity and may provide a catalyst for larger scale clinical trials.

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