If your child has Asperger’s and you are going to be taking them in for a dental appointment, then you’ll want to do everything in your power to make that appointment go as smoothly as possible. As you know, taking your child with Asperger’s in for an appointment can quickly turn into a huge dilemma if things aren’t done correctly. This article is full of tips and tricks that will help you to make their dental appointment a positive experience.
Take your child in to visit the office ahead of time: Call the office and get approval to bring your child in ahead of time. Let the staff know that you want your child to be able to check things out, including at least one of the exam rooms. If they can make it so the dentist will be able to take a moment at least to say hello to your child, then that will be even better. It’s going to be much easier on your child to go to their dental appointment if the office is already familiar to them.
Choose The Right Dentist
Find the right dentist: The very first thing you want to do is be sure you’ve chosen the best dentist for your child’s needs. Verify that the dentist has experience working with children on the autism spectrum. Also, ask them a few questions to verify they are going to be willing to go out on a limb to accommodate the two of you. If you sense any hesitation, look for another dentist. It’s crucial you have a dentist you can count on to work with you the way you need them to.
Make their appointment at the right time: The very first place to start is to make your child’s appointment at the right time. If you have them going in during the middle of the day, then you’re going to put them in the position of being in a cramped waiting room with all other types of people for a longer period of time. This is going to place them around all types of stimuli for an extended period of time. As you know, this is asking for trouble. It’s much better to make their appointment first thing in the morning or right after lunch. This will generally be the quietest time in the waiting area and the time of the day when your child will be called back in the fastest amount of time.
Mark the appointment on their calendar as soon as you make it: As the parent of a child with Asperger’s, you more than likely have already learned just how important it is to prepare your child for changes well in advance. Therefore, you’ll want to mark the dental appointment on the calendar and make them well aware that it’s on there.
Keep the appointment brief: If your child is going to the dentist for more than just a checkup, then you’ll want to see about breaking the treatments up into several short appointments rather than one long one.
Explain what’s going to happen at the appointment to your child: You want to try to cover every little detail and explain everything to them right before you leave to go to the appointment. You may also want to explain it to them a time or two before this. The more familiar you can make your child with Asperger’s feel about the dentist’s office, the better their appointment may go.
Bring a Special Item
Have your child bring their special item with them: Whether your child is attached to a weighted blanket, a certain stuffed animal, or another object, allow them to bring it with them to their appointment.
Creating The Best Environment
Try to create a quiet and calming environment: When you get to the office, let the staff know to remind the dentist about your child and make sure they remember to do their best to work with the quietest dental tools possible. It will also be helpful if they can put your child in one of the rooms that are furthest from the other rooms, so they aren’t going to hear the tools from the other rooms, crying children or loud talking that’s going to get to them.
Have the dentist explain everything to your child and show them all the tools: If the dentist just grabs a tool and starts going toward your child’s mouth, this appointment isn’t going to go well. Even a dentist who has worked with children on the autism spectrum may need some guidance and reminders during the appointment. Make sure the dentist explains things to your child before they do something. Also, let the dentist know it’s very helpful if your child can touch the tools for themselves.
Make sure everyone uses direct language when conversing with your child: Since children with Asperger’s don’t do well with words that have double meanings, it’s important to let everyone know your child will take everything literally, so to speak to them in a direct language only.
See if the dentist can begin the exam with their fingers: If they start the examination using only their fingers, this is going to help your child feel less threatened. Also, if you can convince the dentist to use a toothbrush to do as much of the exam as possible, then this can help the appointment go much better. A toothbrush is a very familiar object to your child, and as such, it will be one that they won’t be scared of.
The Dental Exam Room
See about keeping the lights to a minimum: While the dentist will need a certain amount of lighting to do the exam and any treatments your child is in for, you should suggest them turning the lighting down as much as they can. Also, ask the dentist to avoid shining their dental light directly into your child’s face.
Hold your child’s hand when possible: Try to make special accommodations in the room that allows you to stay in as close of contact with your child as possible. Keep hold of their hand as much as you can.
Following the tips for children with Asperger’s in this article will help you to make your child’s dental appointment go much better for all of you.
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