Food Selectivity: Causes & Consequences in Children with Autism

presented by Michelle Suarez

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Food selectivity is a common problem in children with developmental disabilities and particularly in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Understanding the causes and consequences of food selectivity can help feeding clinicians develop a client-centered treatment plan to address the unique needs of these children. This course will provide current knowledge regarding how and why food selectivity develops. In addition, the potential consequences of food selectivity will be outlined. This information will serve as the foundation for the development of an effective and evidenced based food selectivity treatment plan. This is part one in a series of four on Food Selectivity.

Meet Your Instructor

  • Michelle Suarez, PhD, OTR/L

    Michelle Suarez is an Associate Professor in the Occupational Therapy department at Western Michigan University (WMU). She received her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy (OT) from Eastern Michigan University and her PhD in Interdisciplinary Health Science from Western Michigan University. In her role as professor, she teaches the pediatric content to Master level OT students, co-coordinates the clinic where students complete their level I placements, is a member of an autism diagnostic evaluation team, and conducts research in pediatric practice. Michelle has published peer reviewed research in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, International Journal of School Health, Autism and Open Journal of Occupational Therapy. In addition, she has written several book chapters for the Conditions in Occupational Performance text book. Michelle’s research areas include Food Selectivity, Sensory Processing Disorders, measuring physiological responses to everyday occupation, and the impact of abuse, neglect and prenatal substance abuse on children and relationships. She regularly presents at professional conferences and for community organizations. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association and the Michigan Occupational Therapy Association.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. Food Selectivity and The Consequences

    1. Food Selectivity and The Consequences

    This chapter will define food selectivity and describe several key components of this disorder. In addition, the prevalence of food selectivity in both children who are typically developing and in those with developmental disabilities will be described. Finally, information about the potential consequences of food selectivity will highlight the importance of identifying children who would benefit from food selectivity treatment.

  2. Causes of Food Selectivity

    2. Causes of Food Selectivity

    In this chapter, factors that contribute to food selectivity will be discussed. These factors include sensory processing disorder, restricted and repetitive behaviors, gastro intestinal issues and oral motor challenges. This information will provide the foundation for the development of the food selectivity treatment plan.