Butterflies, dentists, and kids with autism

Researchers from USC and CHLA have found an effective way of reducing dental anxiety for children, especially those with autism spectrum disorder.

Trips to the dentist prove particularly difficult for children with autism, as the bright lights, loud sounds, and touching inside the mouth can provide too much sensory input. As such, their oral health often suffers.

To alleviate these stressors, researchers set up dental cleanings in a quiet, darkened environment with soothing music and slow-moving visual effects. To keep the children secured in their chairs, practitioners eschewed traditional means and instead used a seat cover that looked like “a giant butterfly whose wings wrapped around the child and provided a comforting, deep-pressure hug.”

The study was performed in unique collaboration between occupational therapists and paediatric dentists, and its results were published on May 1 in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s