Abstract

This study examined sensory differences and mealtime behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD; n = 34) and compared the results with those of similarly aged peers who were typically developing (TD; n = 34). Results from parent-report and child-report questionnaires indicated that children with ASD scored significantly differently from TD peers on the measures of sensory differences and eating behaviors. Data also supported a correlation between sensory differences and eating difficulties in children with ASD. The results of this study will help caregivers and their children with ASD identify problem eating behaviors that may be associated with sensory differences. Sensory strategies and techniques offered by occupational therapy practitioners may contribute to greater success during mealtimes for children with ASD and their families, with increased comfort and less stress. The findings also support a need to further explore the influence of sensory differences on mealtime behaviors.

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