Brief Report  |   January 2014
Phenomenological Examination of the Mealtime Experience for Mothers of Children With Autism and Food Selectivity
Author Affiliations
  • Michelle A. Suarez, PhD, OTR/L, is Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy Department, College of Health and Human Services, Western Michigan University, 3405 CHHS, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5333; michelle.a.suarez@wmich.edu
  • Ben J. Atchison, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Professor and Chair, Occupational Therapy Department, College of Health and Human Services, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo
  • Mary Lagerwey, PhD, RN, is Professor, Bronson School of Nursing, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo
Article Information
Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Departments
Brief Report   |   January 2014
Phenomenological Examination of the Mealtime Experience for Mothers of Children With Autism and Food Selectivity
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2014, Vol. 68, 102-107. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.008748
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, January/February 2014, Vol. 68, 102-107. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.008748
Abstract

Many children within the autism population also have food selectivity, and it is not clear how this comorbid difficulty affects the mealtime experience for families. The purpose of this qualitative interview study was to gain an understanding of the mealtime experience of mothers of children with autism and food selectivity. The transcribed interviews were analyzed using a phenomenological approach. Mothers in this study described mealtime as difficult and stressful. Reasons for mealtime stress included the child’s self-restricted diet and difficulty sitting at the table. The mothers described attempts to improve mealtime but little success. Implications of the findings are discussed in the context of the literature.