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Brief Research Report ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychiatry | doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00529


  • 1Policlinico Umberto I, Italy
  • 2Department of Dynamic and Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Medicine and Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
  • 3Department of Human Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
  • 4Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), Italy

Background and objectives: Feeding problems occur more frequently among children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The aim of thisstudy was to analyse eating difficulties of ASD children through the direct observation of the caregiver-child co-regulation system.
Methods: We compared 60 ASD children with a control group of 50 typically developing Italian children on the Scale for the Assessment of Feeding Interaction (SVIA). The Brief Autism Mealtime Behaviour Inventory (BAMBI) was used to define the presence of an eating disorder.
Results: The ASD group showed higher scores on all dimensions of the SVIA compared tothe control group. The SVIA and the BAMBI showed significant correlations. In a second step, the ASD sample was divided into two subgroups, children with and without feeding difficulties. The comparison between the ASD subgroups with the control group on the SVIA scales showed significant differences on all dimensions. Finally, significant differences emerged between the two ASD subgroups in three SVIA dimensions.
Conclusion: These data suggest the importance of direct observation of feeding in the assessment of children with ASD. The SVIA seems to be able to point out some feeding difficulties in these subjects and to discriminate ASD with and without an eating disorder. Critical aspects of the application of SVIA to autistic children are discussed.

Keywords: Autism Spectrum Disorder, Feeding disorder, Mother-child co-regulation, direct observation, Scale for the Assessment of Feeding Interaction, Brief Autism Mealtime Behavior Inventory

Received: 01 Apr 2019; Accepted: 04 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Dirk Dhossche, School of Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center, United States

Reviewed by:

Khaled Saad, Assiut University, Egypt
Camilla Gesi, University of Pisa, Italy  

Copyright: © 2019 Catino, Perroni, Di Trani, Alfonsi, Chiarotti and Cardona. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Francesco Cardona, Department of Human Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, 00185, Lazio, Italy,