An Analysis of Eating Postures in Adolescents and Young Adults Diagnosed with Autism
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to analyze eating postures in a group of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) who demonstrate expressive language impairment (ELI), and compare their eating postures to a group of age-matched peers. While eating behaviors and techniques have been studied in the autism population,1-8 to date no research has been generated on the postures of individuals during eating. It was hypothesized that individuals with ELI-ASD would demonstrate different postures and strategies.
Methods: Nine subjects with ELI-ASD (age range 16-22 year; 1 female and 8 males) were recruited for this study. The Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) was used to assess level of autism with all demonstrating "severe autism" with a a mean total score of 51.11 (SD5.54) with significant language impairment. Ten age-matched controls (18-20 year of age; 3 females and 7 males) were also recruited. During the discrete eating events each subject was video taped. Utlilizing a rubric and biomechanical analysis the following data was processed: attention to eating, hand used to hold spoon, grasp, spoon position, trunk posture, and other related movements.
Results: Initial data analysis found significant differences between the ELI-ASD group and the control in eating including attention, grasp, and posture. Additional analysis is ongoing at this time.
Conclusions: Individuals with ELI-ASD demonstrated significantly different eating postures compared to the control group. This new line of analysis provides opportunities for intervention to ameliorate postural deficits, and improve life for individuals with autism in the realm of activities of daily living.
See more of: Sensory, Motor, and Repetitive Behaviors and Interests