By Kate Ranta on Apr 15, 2016 @ 09:00 AM
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) presents as a variety of sensory and communicative issues that can trigger behaviors during a dental visit. This means a whole new set of obstacles to overcome for parents of children with ASD.
Children are so routine-based that going to the orthodontist and being fitted for braces can be unnerving for them—and you. Here are some steps you can take to ease the anxiety of your child and make the experience as successful as possible.
Call around and look for an orthodontist who can manage your child’s needs. Do they already have patients with autism? Are they equipped to help? It is worth asking if they can accommodate for the following instances:
- Allowing you to go into the exam room with your child, along with the use of a therapy band or fidget device during the exam
- Explaining the various procedures in concrete language, and letting your child look some of the basic tools that will be used
- Minimizing the amount of sounds and lowering the lights, where safe
- Appointment flexibility, so all follow-ups can be with the same dental hygienist and at a consistent time of day
Prepare before you go
A good idea may be to view a preparatory video on YouTube. This way, your child can visualize what will happen ahead of time and listen to the orthodontist explain the step-by-step process of what will happen. It is fun to role play, so you can even act out the visit based on what you watched. This can help ease any uncertainty your child may have about what will happen at the visit. This allow you to focus on things that your child is most likely to be concerned about.
Encourage your child
Motivating your child based on good behavior during the visit is an excellent practice to maintain. Think about things your child enjoys and use them as an incentive. You can stop for a treat afterward or purchase a new toy.
.Per the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry, half of the parents of children with autism spectrum disorder described their child’s dental health as fair or poor. So anything you can do to increase the success of your child when being seen by the dentist will lead to benefits for their future oral health.