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TAP Tip Sheet - Dental Exam Tips


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The Autism Program of Illinois Tip Sheet: Dental Exam Tips

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TAP Tip Sheet - Dental Exam Tips

  1. 1. Autism Spectrum DisordersTips & Resources Tip Sheet 3 Dental Exam Tips • Seek out dental professionals who are experienced in working with children with autism or other developmental disabilities. • Talk with the dental hygienist prior to the appointment and make sure that they understand your child’s specific sensory and behavioral issues. • Take your child to the dental office a few days before his/her scheduled appointment. This will help make the environment less threatening to your child. • Allow your child to watch a sibling going through a dental exam (only if the sibling tolerates the exam and will be a positive role model). • Take a “comfort item” with you to the scheduled appointment. This should be something that helps your child feel more secure. It may be a favorite stuffed animal, a picture of your pet or an object that has special meaning for him/her. You should probably keep this item concealed and only use it if your child becomes upset. • Be aware that your child may react to the exam light, sound of suction or other forms of sensory stimulation that occur in a dental office. • If your child has sensory sensitivities, you might ask the hygienist to turn off music, bright overhead lighting, etc. • If you own a visual timer, you can use it to help your child understand they will be spending a certain period of time in the exam chair. Ask the hygienist how long the appointment will last and set the timer accordingly. • Ask your hygienist to use the tell-show-do method.* 1. Tell- give an instruction 2. Show- model the correct response 3. Do- ask the child to perform the behavior • If your child has language comprehension difficulties, ask dental professionals to use the 5 second rule. Using this method, they would give a verbal instruction to the child and count to 5 (to themselves) to allow additional processing time. • Use clear and concise language when giving your child instructions. *Tip provided by the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders – TAP University Partner at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.Rev.0612Prepared by: Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders – TAP University Partner at Southern Illinois University Carbondale