Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Blackwell, Patsy Blaine


Eating disorders in children; Behavior modification


Feeding disorders occur when a child rejects significant amounts of food or drink. Food refusals are maintained by factors which may be behavioral based, due to structural impairments, or a combination of the two. One of the first steps to increasing a child's diet is having them try novel or previously rejected food items. The current study includes 5 case studies of behavioral based food refusals in children and applies the use of a step by step desensitization procedure as a form of proactive intervention to increase the likelihood a bite of non-preferred food will be accepted. Results of the study indicated the food item was allowed to increase in proximity to the oral cavity when the step by step procedure was implemented. Future research should explore methodology of the current investigation, include a larger sample size, revise time constraints and more clearly define subject parameters.