Feeding Problems of Preschool-Age Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder in Pathum Thani Province, Thailand
Keywords:Autism, Feeding problems, Food refusal, BAMBI, Thailand
Introduction: Feeding problems are commonly observed in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Among feeding problems, food selectivity is the most common issue. Improper feeding behaviors could lead to health issues and difficulties in parenting. The objective of this research is to compare eating problems among preschool-age children with autism and children with typical development (TD).
Methods: This case-control study was conducted in 30 children with ASD and 30 age- and gendermatched children with TD. Parents of children from both groups answered demographic questionnaires, the Brief Autism Mealtime Behavior Inventory (BAMBI) and questionnaires about attitude and strategies toward their child’s behavioral problems.
Results: The mean total score of the BAMBI in children with ASD (45 ± 8.4) was significantly higher than children with TD (40 ± 7.4). Of the three domains in the BAMBI, food refusal was the only significantly different domain between two groups. The behaviors which were commonly mentioned by parents of children with ASD as problematic were expelling food that had been eaten and refusing to eat certain foods that they dislike. Parents from both groups did not differ in their emotion and confidence during mealtimes.
Conclusions: Preschool-age children with ASD have more eating problems than normal developing children. Food refusal behavior was an area of significant difference between the two groups. Therefore, when caring for preschooler with ASD, eating problems also should be focused on.