Abstract

Studies using parent-report measures have described the high prevalence of food selectivity in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, few studies have documented food acceptance in a controlled laboratory environment. The objective of this study was to compare laboratory food acceptance in children with ASD with that of children with typical development (TD). In addition, the relationships between food acceptance and the child’s age, sensory processing pattern, and autism severity were explored. Results indicate that children with autism (n = 31) accepted fewer foods in the laboratory environment than the children with TD (n = 21) and that food acceptance was related to age but not to ASD severity. In addition, sensory processing scores were associated with food acceptance for the combined ASD and TD groups. Results are discussed in the context of the literature. This information has the potential to support evaluation and treatment of food selectivity.

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