University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

By the same authors

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Original languageEnglish
Journal publication date1 Aug 2019
Publication statusSubmitted - 1 Aug 2019


Heightened sensitivity to sensory information has been associated with food fussiness in both atypical and typical development. Despite food fussiness and sensory dysfunction being reported as common concerns for children with neurodevelopmental disorders, the relationship that exists between them, and whether they differ between disorders, has yet to be established. The current study aimed to examine sensory sensitivity as a predictor of food fussiness in different neurodevelopmental disorders, controlling for any co-occurrence. One hundred caregivers of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD; n=19), Tourette Syndrome (TS; n=27), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD; n=27), and typical development (TD; n=27) were compared using parental reports of child selective eating, food preferences and sensory sensitivity. Children with neurodevelopmental disorders were reported to have significantly higher levels of both food fussiness and sensory sensitivity, with children with ASD and TS also showing significantly less preference for fruit than children with TD. Importantly, higher levels of taste/smell sensitivity predicted food fussiness for all four groups of children. In addition, taste/smell sensitivity fully mediated the differences in food fussiness between each group of neurodevelopmental disorders compared to the TD group. The findings highlight that food fussiness is similar across neurodevelopmental disorders regardless of co-occurring disorders, and that greater sensitivity to sensory information may account for why children with neurodevelopmental disorders are more likely to be fussy eaters.

ID: 17527220