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Dental advice for parents of autistic children
Updated: 3/28/2011 6:59:59 PM

Seeing the same hygienists and dentists may help autistic children relax during visits Many kids are afraid of the dentist or act out during visits, but these appointments can be especially troublesome for the parents of children who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

A recent article published by the Autism Support Network provides several helpful tips to ensure that children with special needs receive necessary dental care.

First, the organization suggests that parents do some research in order to identify a dental practice that will best suit their child. Key information includes whether or not the professionals have experience with ASD children, if they can accommodate appointments during the time of day at which the individual is most agreeable and if they are able to provide consistent personnel, so that kids may become familiar with their hygienists.

The Support Network also recommends at-home practices that can prepare autistic children for their first professional cleaning. Occupational therapists may be helpful for kids who are not used to brushing their own teeth. Parents can also use visual prompts and timers to help their children develop good oral care routines.

Many children have neglected dental health issues. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 40 percent of children between the ages of 2 and 11 have tooth decay in their primary teeth.

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