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Eating behavior of children with autism spectrum disorder

ABSTRACT

Objective:

The objective of this study was to analyze feeding behavior in children with autism spectrum disorder.

Methods:

Twenty-one children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) participated in this study, aged 2 to 14 years old, of both sexes. A questionnaire on feeding behavior was applied to the 21 parents and/or responsible of the children. This instrument consists of 53 questions, distributed in the following categories: Motricity in chewing; Food selectivity; Behavioral aspects; Gastrointestinal symptoms; Sensory sensitivity and Skills in meals.

Results:

The analysis of the data obtained reveals that children with ASD showed greater changes in eating behavior in the categories Food selectivity (34.4%), Behavioral aspects (27.1%) and Motricity in mastication (21.9%). And there was a correlation between the chewing motricity category with all other categories. There was also a correlation between food selectivity with behavioral aspects and behavioral aspects with sensory sensitivity and mealtime skills.

Conclusion:

Therefore, it is possible to observe that in the eating behavior of children with autism spectrum disorder there is a tendency towards food selectivity, habitual behaviors during meals and motor difficulties with regard to chewing and food intake.

KEYWORDS
Feeding behavior; autism spectrum disorder; child

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