Food Texture Sensitivity in Children with Down Syndrome: Our Journey as Food Scientists

April 21, 2022 11:00 am

The influence of texture sensitivities (TS) on food acceptance and eating behaviors in children with Down syndrome (CWDS) was explored through a survey and home-use test. A short questionnaire was developed to categorize a child as food TS. These studies highlighted the importance of TS in CWDS regarding food acceptance.

Learning Objectives
Participants will be able to:

  • Describe food texture sensitivity in children with Down syndrome
  • Analyze the results of a parent-reported survey and home-use test to understand the influence of food texture classification and age on feeding behaviors and food acceptance
  • Formulate a list of easily and non-easily managed food textures for children with Down syndrome


  • Carolyn Ross, MS, PhD

    Carolyn Ross is a Professor in the School of Food Science at Washington State University (WSU) and Affiliate Professor in the WSU School of Medicine. She earned her BSc. in nutrition from the University of Manitoba, M.Sc. from the University of Guelph in food science, and Ph.D. from Michigan State University in food science/environmental toxicology. The overall objectives of Dr. Ross’ research and graduate education program are to understand the theoretical basis underpinning the sensory perception of foods and correlate these psychophysical attributes with quantifiable characteristics. Dr. Ross has also expanded her research to study food texture perception in children. Since starting at WSU in 2004, Dr. Ross has established her lab and the WSU Sensory Science Center as a center for graduate student training in sensory science and analytical chemistry, publishing over 130 scientific research articles. Dr. Ross was also recently awarded the WSU Faculty Excellence Award for Instruction.

    Financial Disclosures: Holds a full time job at Washington State University. Received an honorarium from Feeding Matters for the 9th International Pediatric Feeding Disorder Conference.
    Non-Financial Disclosures: None

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  • Sarah Smith-Simpson, MS, PhD

    Sarah Smith-Simpson is currently a Principal Scientist of Child Development and Physical Safety for Nestle Nutrition Gerber Baby Food in Fremont, MI. In her current role, she is responsible for helping guide the development of innovative products and services that assist parents with enjoyable and successful mealtimes where children eat foods that meet their nutritional needs and encourage development of feeding skills.

    Ms. Smith-Simpson holds a PhD degree from Rutgers University in Food Science, an MS degree in Food Science from Michigan State University, and a BS degree also from Michigan State University in Nutritional Sciences.

    Financial Disclosures: Sarah Smith-Simpson holds a full-time job at Nestle.
    Non-Financial Disclosures: None

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