Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Autism and dental care


Going to the dentist is scary.

Going to the dentist when you have sensory issues, motor planning problems, high anxiety and a diagnosis of Autism makes the experience even more scary.

It has been my job to make the experience easier for my son. My attitude and approach has determined how he has taken on board the challenge.

It's been a slow, yet deliberate process. First off, all that was requested of Nick was to visit the waiting room. Thereafter, he would sit in the same room as me while I had dental work done. A few visits later, he was invited to sit in the dental chair. That is all he needed to do.... sit in that chair without any pressure to do any more. Eventually, on another visit, I was able to gently pull back Nick's lips in order for the dentist to quickly peer inside.

Last year, we had some success. Nick was able to tolerate me holding his lips back to enable the dentist to do a brief scraping of the teeth and a quick clean.

Yesterday, I took both boys for their checkup. The big brother was up first. I chatted to the dentist while he was working, and Nick played on his iPad.

When it came to Nick's turn, we took it slowly and gently. We followed his lead and gave him frequent mini breaks. When I saw the anxiety mounting, I started to count aloud using a soft calm voice. During the mini breaks I gave him a little bit of pressure on his chest. Twice, I reined him back in by using a stern voice.... nothing more than a, "Oye, Nicholas". 
Our dentist was absolutely brilliant and Nick was in that chair for twenty minutes. HUGE! 
Edge plus one all the way. For all of us!





A helping hand from big brother!







~*~





“Our



21 comments:

  1. Fantastic for Nick and good advice for families whose children have similar issues with the dentist x

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    1. Thanks, Blue Sky. I have a feeling that there are many families with similar issues! :)

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  2. Fabulous advice that was left on my Bright Side facebook page: "My daughter uses the X-ray vest the whole time she is in the chair as she likes the weight and pressure. Maybe this would help Nick?"

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  3. I'm getting nervous about Archie & the dentist as he's non verbal & is still so young that he doesn't understand when I try to explain things to him We've just started taking him when his brother has his check ups just to try & get him used to the environment. It sounds like Nick really did well x

    Gym Bunny Mummy | Bloglovin’ | Facebook

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    1. Hiya GBM, Nick is also non verbal. You are doing the right thing!

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  4. Looks like you planned things out so well and he managed in the end. Well done mom!

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    1. Hopefully, it will get even better with time!

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  5. Taking good care of your oral health can be a burden, and even a bit of a pain. So it's a real blessing if you've got expert dental work to alleviate those. Anyway, I'm really glad that Nick is able to tolerate his dental visits well. I really hope that keeps at it and that he will be orally healthy. Thanks for sharing that! All the best to you and your family!

    Felipe Roberson @ Philly Dentist

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  6. Your dentist sounds wonderful! Glad to hear that it all went well.

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    1. He is pretty amazing, we are very fortunate.

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  7. So great that you resisted the 'press' to push for that little bit extra beyond edge +1 which could have easily derailed the process. Sometimes you just have to slow down now to speed up later. Well done ;-)

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  8. That progress is amazing, and I'm glad to see we are starting the right steps on this road. You all did an amazing job to get this result. Well done to all of you. I hope future visits go just as well.

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements :0)
    x

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  9. Hi Karen,
    New fan of your blog and fellow RDI Mom- I am curious if you have ever heard of HANDLE? It's too much for me to explain here, but if you are reading this I highly recommend looking into it, I have been doing it with my son in conjunction to RDI and it has been life-changing

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    1. Hi Jamie, nice to meet you. Yes, I know HANDLE, thanks so much for thinking of us. I am thrilled to hear that is going so well for your son. Di

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  10. Great achievement, Nick! My boy, too, has been slowly and steadily getting used to the dentist, and we are lucky to have found a practice who is patient. B. would not lay back on the dentist chair, so they brushed and cleaned his teeth while he sat up; but the last few visits, he's edged his way to leaning into the chair bit by bit. It's so great what they are able to accomplish if just given time and patience to master their sensitivities and anxiety!! Congrats to you and Nick :)

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    1. @stayquirkymyfriends. How fortunate to have found a practice that is so accommodating ~ it does make the world of difference. Great to hear that your son is also progressing bit by bit.

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