Los Angeles — A collaboration between the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the University of Southern California is having researchers look into how sensory-adapted dental environments could improve the dental experience of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Dental visits often make both the young and old alike anxious— and the scenario is usually problematic for the typically developing young ones, let alone for those struggling with ASD.
This has been a cause for concern for many as families caring for children on the spectrum are often left with tough choices to make, such as sedating or restraining their children, or even foregoing dental visits instead.
In an attempt to solve this inevitable problem, a team of researchers comprised of dentists and occupational therapists came up with what they call a ‘sensory-adapted dental environment’, which aims to significantly improve the dental experience of children suffering from severe sensory problems.
A ‘sensory-adapted dental environment’ features “hugging” seat covers, dimmed lights, slow-moving visuals being projected onto the ceiling, and soothing music being played in the background. Researchers were so far able to test the modified dental environment in a study that involved a small group of 44 children— half of them with autism— and have found promising results.
According to one of the researchers, Dr. Sharon Cermak of the USC:
“So far the children are showing less behavioral distress. We’re seeing that with both typical children and children with autism spectrum disorders.”
The researchers are now planning to test the environment with a larger group of children.
Source: KOAA5.com: Your Healthy Family: New research helps kids with autism at the dentist