Dental Care For Children With Autism
Today is Autism Awareness Day. Autism is a developmental disability that is characterised by difficulties in social interaction. Some individuals with Autism are able to live independent lives whilst some have accompanying learning abilities and may need assistance and support. In 2009 an estimated 64,600 Australians had Autism according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Teaching an effective oral health care routine to kids with Autism can be a challenge for parents, caregivers and dental professionals. It’s a challenge that’s well worth the effort, because effective brushing and flossing will lay the foundation for a lifetime of good oral health.
Autism Speaks, a US-based advocacy organization, has teamed up with Colgate to develop a dental tool kit designed to help parents and caregivers of children with Autism improve the latter’s oral hygiene at home. The dental guide also provides information for dental staff, to help them make dental appointments for children with Autism an enjoyable and successful experience.
The report explains that some children with Autism benefit from visual reminders for many tasks, and that visuals may assist the implementation of an effective home care routine. The dental tool kit provides the following tips to parents on how to put together a sequence of visuals for their child:
- Take photos of the step-by-step procedure of brushing teeth and print them out
- Tick off the activities as they occur
- Another way is to load the photos on a digital photo frame and set the photos to be displayed on a 10-second interval
Click here to download the complete dental tool kit: http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/documents/dentalguide.pdf
The goal, ultimately, is to help children achieve independence in brushing and flossing their teeth.
The video below shows how parents can help their kids brush properly. At around 6:08 minute mark shows a visit to a dental office. There is lots of valuable information here so be sure to watch the entire video!