Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Pica and Children with Autism - What Works?

pica and autism - what works? - www.YourTherapySource.comThe Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders published a review of medical records from 11 children with pica who were treated at a severe behavior program over the last 12 years.  All 11 children had autism except one.  Although the interventions for pica were not the same for every child, they shared similar techniques such as:

"1.  blocking the child from eating an inappropriate object, by shadowing the child or, in a few cases, through physical restraint; this mode fades over time.

2.  redirecting the child toward a preferred activity.

3.   rewarding the child for disposing of an inedible object with a small treat".

The review indicated that the average reduction in pica from baseline to final treatment, in this clinical setting, was 96 percent.  The research team's standard practice was to train parents and caregivers and provide follow up help if needed for up to 6 months.  In addition for the children in this study, pica was an “automatically maintained” behavior, not attention seeking or manipulative.  The behaviors did not stop after proper nutrition supplementation was provided.

Reference:  Woodruff Health Sciences Center. Behavioral therapy effective against pica in children with autism spectrum disorder. Retrieved from the web on 2/11/15 at




PICA madre said...

I'm a little annoyed with this article, in all honesty. You act as if parents of children with PICA have never thought of doing these things before. Have you ever had to have your child's stomach pumped because of the things she ingested? What makes you think we wouldn't try THREE simple things ANY good therapist would recommend? I was looking for help, not a bunch of common sense!

Administrator said...

I am sorry that you feel that way. I was actually just reporting on recent research not offering those tips based on experience. I think one thing the research does tell us is that there is very little research on the topic. They had only 11 children treated over the past 12 years. And as you stated, the "simple techniques" is what worked for most of those children. In addition, it is a very small sample size. They have to start somewhere with the research though to develop patterns that worked. I am by no means judging parents or therapists that they should have thought of these things. Hope that helps explain the blogpost more.

Word said...

Classy, admin. Most people would've snapped back. =)
I think the parent here is mostly frustrated and doesn't realize who they may be taking it out on.
Though the article is simple, and pretty basic. It's simply saying that with proper therapy, PICA can be reduced, however, there needs to be more research.
I, also, am a parent of a child with PICA, and proper therapy hasn't worked thus far. If anything, it's goaded him into trying more non-foods, even when being offered a replacement real-food.
I'm fairly certain any speech therapist worth their salt would have offered these tips during sessions for any of their kiddos with PICA. Maybe researchers should have a sit-down with a few of them sometime.

Administrator said...

Very good point about the getting advice from speech therapists!

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