A treatment package was used to induce and maintain swallowing with three infants who did not swallow food or liquid. Prior to treatment, they received all nutrition and hydration via gastrostomy tube feedings. The treatment package consisted of least-to-most intrusive physical prompts, an eliciting stimulus, contingent social reinforcement, and repeated trials to induce and maintain swallowing. The design combined elements of reversal and changing criterion designs for all three infants. The package was applied across feeding devices (nipple, cup, spoon), situations (liquid, pureed foods), and persons (trainer, primary nurses, mothers). The number of swallows or ounces per feeding (from 0 to 8 ounces) and the number of feeding sessions per day (from one to five) were progressively increased. In each case, the infant received baseline conditions alternated with the treatment package. Follow-up probes were done at 15 months, 21 months, or 24 months, respectively, after the last phase for the three patients. The package was successful in that the gastrostomy tube was no longer needed for Patients 1 and 3. Patient 2 maintained functional swallowing responses but received supplemental gastrostomy feedings because of unrelated medical problems. Results are discussed in terms of the need to isolate components of the package. The package can be used in cases in which the preexisting treatments (reinforcement with preferred foods, force-feeding) are not feasible because of age, physical fragility, or the lack of a swallowing response following the presentation of food.
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