As many as 1 in 100 children are diagnosed with autism everyday in Australia. Parenting an autistic child requires a little more effort and patience. You'll have to tweak some of your parenting skills to accommodate their needs. Many parents would agree that going to the dentist easily becomes a nightmare even if the appointment is for simple and basic services like professional teeth cleaning. It's reasonable to expect major dental procedures to be an even bigger headache and problem. Here are 3 preparation tips that might come in handy when taking your autistic child to the dentist.
Create and Tell Stories on What to Expect
Giving your child some type of idea of what to expect can really help make the appointment go by a lot faster. Before even going to the dental clinic, create and tell your child some stories on what to expect. This might include how the office may look, sound, smell and feel. Explain to them step-by-step as to what they can expect in the eyes of a third-party. It'll give them a chance to relate.
Schedule Several Short, But Positive Visits
Unfamiliar and strange environments can be terrifying for autistic children. You don't want your child's first major dental procedure to be one of their first experiences at the dental office, as this can lead to anxiety and tantrums. It may also cause going to the dental clinic to be associated with negative emotions. If your dentist is recommending a major dental procedure, you should consider scheduling several short, but positive visits first. Give your child the opportunity to feel comfortable with the clinic, get accustomed to the sounds of the equipment and tools used and even feel more comfortable with sitting in the dental chairs.
Acquaint the Child with the Staff
Normally, children start to become less fearful of strangers by the time that they are between 1 to 2 years old. Unfortunately, this development is usually hindered amongst autistic children. Being in unfamiliar environments and being surrounded by strangers can provoke autistic children and make them feel anxious and uncomfortable. A major dental procedure will already be stressful enough without having the added anxiety of being surrounded by strangers. To ease your child's fear or discomfort, acquaint your child with the staff. Ask staff members whether they would mind taking some time getting to know your child beforehand. Being surrounded by familiar faces can help autistic children relax before a major dental procedure.
Putting in the effort to prepare for a major dental procedure can make your life a lot easier and can help your child better relax. Going to the dentist should be a familiar and positive activity. This will increase the chances of your child cooperating during the procedure.Share