Reducing Rumination of a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder Using Post-Meal Tooth Brushing

Claire McDowell, J Barry, S Smyth

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Background: Rumination is defined as the regurgitation, chewing and re-swallowing of partially digested food. It is estimated that it occurs in about 10% of individuals with developmental disabilities.Method: An AB design was employed to assess the effectiveness of an intervention designed to reduce the number of occurrences where rumination followed eating in two settings, one of which acted as a control settingMaterials: Materials included a digital wristwatch, pen and paper based food diary and a child sized manual toothbrush and mint flavoured children’s toothpaste.Results: Baseline measures showed that the percentage of sessions where rumination occurred was similar in both the snack and lunch settings. The intervention which was implemented in the snack setting only resulted in a decrease in the number of times rumination occurred after school snack time. There was no significant decrease in rumination following lunch which remained under baseline conditions.Conclusions: The data add to the PBS literature on non-aversive interventions for rumination and suggest a healthy, age appropriate and functional means of decreasing the behaviour in a young child with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
JournalPsychology and Psychological Research International Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 3 Aug 2017


  • Rumination
  • Tooth brushing
  • ASD


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