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Trumpet Behavioral Health published a study on decreasing rapid eating in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. In this review, the team shared their success in using a vibrating pager to slow the pace of rapid eating in a child with autism.
The authors have contributed to a field of research around the use of vibrating prompts to teach social behaviors, as well as the methodology around reducing the need for those prompts.
The goal of the team at Trumpet Behavioral Health was to help Mason slow his rate of consumption of his favorite food (strawberries) to that of an average adult male.
Brief pager training sessions were conducted daily in preparation for decreasing his pace with this preferred food. The therapists began by offering Mason fruit other than strawberries, and through initial physical guidance, repetition and verbal praise, Mason learned to take bites only when the pager vibrated.
Upon mastery of decreasing rapid eating with general fruit, Mason then applied his newfound skills to strawberries. The specialists at Trumpet Behavioral Health then withdrew Mason’s reliance on the tactile prompt by reducing the pager’s vibration intensity and frequency.
Past studies have shown that employing vibrating prompts while teaching social behaviors is helpful to people with autism. This study demonstrates that decreasing rapid eating can be added to that list of behaviors.
The study on decreasing rapid eating also expanded upon existing evidence around prompt reduction. The assertion remains that adjusting the intensity and frequency of a tactile prompt is a reliable way to distance the need for it in an individual with autism.
Contact Trumpet Behavioral Health for more information about decreasing rapid eating and other social behaviors in individuals with autism.