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Sensory Sensitivity and Food Selectivity in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Abstract

Few studies have compared atypical sensory characteristics and food selectivity between children with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We compared oral sensory processing between children with (n = 53) and without ASD (n = 58), ages 3–11 years. We also examined the relationships between atypical oral sensory processing, food selectivity, and fruit/vegetable consumption in children with ASD. We found that more children with ASD presented with atypical sensory processing than children without ASD. Among children with ASD, those with atypical oral sensory sensitivity refused more foods and ate fewer vegetables than those with typical oral sensory sensitivity. The findings suggest that efforts to address food selectivity in children with ASD may be enhanced by including strategies that address oral sensory processing.

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Funding

This research was funded by the following Grants: R21HD048989-01A2 (NICHD; Diet, Activity and Obesity in Children with Autism); UA3MC25735-01-00 (MCHB; MCH Research Network on Promoting Healthy Weight (HWRN) among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other Developmental Disabilities); 2P30HD004147-33A2 (NICHD; Interdisciplinary Research in Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities); and P30DK046200 (NIH; Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center).

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Contributions

LTC and LGB conceived of the study with clinical and scholarly input from CC and SAC. SP performed the statistical analyses with input/consultation from AM. All authors participated in the writing of the manuscript. CC led the effort to respond to the reviewers’ critiques and revised the manuscript accordingly, with input and approval from all the other authors.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Carol Curtin.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Chistol, L.T., Bandini, L.G., Must, A. et al. Sensory Sensitivity and Food Selectivity in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 48, 583–591 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3340-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-017-3340-9

Keywords

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Food selectivity
  • Sensory sensitivity