Pica in Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

  • Esther HongEmail author
  • Dennis R. Dixon
Part of the Autism and Child Psychopathology Series book series (ACPS)


Pica is a feeding and eating disorder characterized by the ingestion of nonfood, nonnutritive substances. Pica affects individuals of all ages, gender, geographical location, and socioeconomic status and is the most commonly observed feeding disorder among children and adolescents with developmental disabilities (DD). If left untreated, pica can lead to serious medical problems and, in some cases, death. As such, pica is often categorized as a challenging behavior and requires immediate intervention. Behavioral interventions (i.e., antecedent modifications, response-contingent interventions, and punishment-based interventions) have been successful in reducing and eliminating pica. This chapter reviews the etiology, cultural considerations, screening measures, and treatment methods for pica.


Pica Feeding disorder Children Treatment Assessment Behavioral intervention 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Autism and Related DisordersWoodland HillsUSA

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