IADR Abstract Archives

Piloting of an Individualized Dental Training Program for Autistic Children

Objectives: To develop and test an individualized dental training program for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Methods: An individualized dental training program for children with ASD consisting of a 10-step desensitization protocol (from entering the dental office to taking X-ray pictures) accompanied with a tool kit (pictures, social stories, movies, dental examination equipment) for in-school preparations was developed based on existing literature. The program was developed in collaboration with educators at a special-needs class for children with ASD. The program consisted of up to 10 weekly sessions at a regular dentists’ office. The rate of progression was adapted to fit the individual child. Individual preparations prior to the sessions were included in the weekly school schedule and were done by the children’s educators. On the 10th session, all accomplished steps were performed by a different dentist. To assess acceptance, cooperation was measured using Frankl scale.
Results: Seventeen children (age 7-13) were included in the pilot study. The group of children was highly heterogenous with regards to age, speech development, language comprehension, sensitivities, and previous experiences with dental examinations. Fourteen of the children accepted a full examination after attending the program. The use and preferences of preparatory tools and the progression rate through the 10-step protocol varied between the children. The number of children accepting examination with mirror and probe and taking an x-ray after completion of the program increased compared to parents reports on previous achievements. Changing the dentist did not lead to markedly reduced cooperation.
Conclusions: An individualized dental training program consisting of thorough preparations and gradual in-clinic exposure may increase acceptance towards dental procedures in a heterogenous group of children with ASD and facilitate the conduct of a dental examination.

2022 Pan European Region Oral Health Congress (Marseille, France)
Marseille, France
Pediatric Oral Health Research
  • Myhren, Lene  ( Oral Health Centre of Expertise Rogaland , Stavanger , Norway )
  • Pawlowski, Andrzej  ( Oral Health Centre of Expertise Rogaland , Stavanger , Norway )
  • None
    Oral Session
    Pediatric Oral Health Research
    Thursday, 09/15/2022 , 08:30AM - 10:00AM