Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Teacher Education


Research examining food selectivity supports the use of various reinforcement procedures combined with extinction to increase the consumption of non-preferred foods. A multiple baseline across participants design was used to evaluate an intervention consisting of a token economy and escape extinction to increase consumption of non-preferred foods for three students with autism who demonstrated food selectivity. This multi-component intervention examined the effects of back-up reinforcers as an alternative to contingent escape from meals. Specifically, the number of bites taken and the frequency of challenging behavior were measured. During the intervention phase, participants were reinforced with tokens for taking a bite of non-preferred foods and for the absence of challenging behavior. All participants increased in the number of bites taken of non-preferred foods while challenging behavior decreased during the intervention phase and following maintenance probes. The study provides evidence that a multi-component intervention consisting of a token economy and escape extinction can aid in increasing the consumption of non-preferred foods in the diets of students with food selectivity and autism.


Thesis (M.A.) Teacher Education Department

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