Children with autism face many challenges, many of them being our normal, daily activities. Growing up with a special needs sibling introduced the challenges, heartache, dedication, and attention to detail required to live a full life for those with disabilities. Things like school, social activities, and personal interaction are always challenging for those with autism, but everyday tasks are sometimes the most difficult. Changing clothes, taking a shower, brushing your teeth are often a constant source of struggle for the one with autism and their caregivers. Everyone deserves the opportunity for good health, personal care, and oral hygiene, and significant advances have been made to help those with autism. Let’s look at ways to make oral care special for those with autism and give suggestions to make it easier for their caregivers.
Autism itself comes with many sensory issues, different for each person. A dentist’s office can be full of challenges for those who struggle with lights, sounds, touch, and social anxieties. Taking care of our dental health is an essential part of our overall health, so regular dental visits are vital for everyone, especially those with autism. Children with autism need to see their dentist regularly, just like everyone else. Easier said than done; I know that for a fact! What are some ways, tips, tricks, and insights to make dental visits a reality for children with autism? Researching and consulting with some dentists and hygienists, they suggest:
At the end of the day, you know your child/loved one better than anyone, so you do what you know deep down is the best thing for them. I’ll never forget growing up, people saw my special needs brother and constantly tried to tell my parents how to take care of him, discipline him, and meet his needs, none of which actually had a special child or a medical license to give out that kind of advice. My parents smiled through gritted teeth, but I knew it bothered them. You are the only one who has to walk in your shoes, so you know best the one you care for. Trust what your heart tells you is the best way to take care of them and be in constant contact with their doctors, therapists, dentist, and those in the medical field that have a vested interest in the best quality of life possible for the one entrusted to your care.
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