Food selectivity in children with and without an autism spectrum disorder: investigation of diagnosis and age

Jennifer S. Beighley, Louisiana State University, United States. Electronic address:
Johnny L. Matson
Robert D. Rieske
Hilary L. Adams


Feeding problems are common in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), with food selectivity being the most frequently reported. Selectivity based on type and/or texture of food is of concern in those with ASD. Variations in symptom presentation of food selectivity in children with different autism spectrum diagnoses across childhood have not often been investigated. Parent-report of food selectivity was examined in 525 children age 2-18 years diagnosed with autistic disorder, PDD-NOS, Asperger's disorder, atypical development, and typical development using information garnered from the Autism Spectrum Disorder-Comorbidity for Children (ASD-CC), a tool to assess emotional issues and comorbid psychopathology. Individuals with an ASD were reported to have significantly more food selectivity than both the atypically developing group and the typically developing group. In addition, the ASD groups, when looked at together, showed a decrease in food selectivity across childhood with significant decrease in the Asperger's disorder group.