Title

Everyday occupations for children with Autism: Improving oral care

1

Location

Studio 1

Start Time

20-10-2017 4:45 PM

End Time

20-10-2017 5:45 PM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

Background: (394 words, excluding headings)

Oral health, an everyday occupation of daily living, is important to both physical and psychological health.1 Children with autism spectrum disorders (cASD) experience significant barriers to adequate oral care, including sensory processing concerns, impairments in communication, and ineffective techniques to alleviate fear and anxiety.2 However, little research on efficacious interventions to improve care for this population exists.

Statement of Purpose:

To gather information from caregivers and dental professionals on current strategies to facilitate successful oral care encounters for cASD.

Methods:

Two focus groups with parents of cASD (9 parents with children aged 5-18 years) and two focus groups with 7 dental practitioners who treat cASD were conducted. Semi-structured questions were asked about the oral care related challenges experienced by cASD and the strategies employed to address them. Each session lasted 2.5-3 hours in duration and was transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis following a grounded theory approach was used to analyze the data by 3 independent coders.

Results:

Three themes emerged from the parent focus groups. The first theme, What Makes a Good Dentist, focused on the dentist’s knowledge, understanding, and experience. The second theme, Tricks, Tactics, and Diversions, described different techniques to improve dental visits. The last theme, Preparation, Preparation, Preparation, explored parent-implemented strategies.

In the dentist focus groups, four themes emerged. The first theme, Parents Know Best, described how dentists often valued parental expertise regarding care techniques. The second theme, Desensitization, explored strategies for preparation in the home and at the dental office. The third theme, Network of Colleagues, referred to dentists seeking advice of other health care professionals regarding working with the ASD population, as well as mentoring new dentists. The last theme, Flexibility, focused on dentists doing “whatever it takes” to accommodate the needs of cASD.

Conclusions:

Focus group findings provide insight into the techniques perceived by parents and dental providers to lead to successful dental care encounters for cASD. This information has the potential to improve care for this population by identifying areas for modification to create the optimal experience for cASD and their parents.

Relationship to Occupational Science

Caring for a child with ASD is a unique and challenging experience.3 Better understanding of these strategies can help to improve oral care for cASD, and illuminate the particularities of how cASD engage in everyday occupations.3 Discussion about how to facilitate better experiences for cASD in dental settings also has potential to help mitigate the health disparities faced by this marginalized population.

Key Words: Autism, oral care, children

Discussion Questions:

1. How do these oral care strategies impact the experience of everyday occupations for cASD?

2. How is engagement and participation in oral health affected by a diagnosis of ASD?

References

References

1. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2010). Healthy People 2020, Oral Health: Overview, objectives, and interventions and resources. Retrieved from http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topicsobjectives2020/overview.aspx?topicid=32

2. Loo, C. Y., Graham, R. M., & Hughes, C. V. (2008). The caries experience and behavior of dental patients with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of the American Dental Association, 139(11), 1518-1524. doi:10.14219/jada.archive.2008.0078

3. Spitzer, S. L. (2003). With and without words: Exploring occupation in relation to young children with autism. Journal of Occupational Science, 10(2), 67-79.

Acknowledgements:

This study was supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (1R34DE022263-01 and DE024978-01).

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Oct 20th, 4:45 PM Oct 20th, 5:45 PM

Everyday occupations for children with Autism: Improving oral care

Studio 1

Background: (394 words, excluding headings)

Oral health, an everyday occupation of daily living, is important to both physical and psychological health.1 Children with autism spectrum disorders (cASD) experience significant barriers to adequate oral care, including sensory processing concerns, impairments in communication, and ineffective techniques to alleviate fear and anxiety.2 However, little research on efficacious interventions to improve care for this population exists.

Statement of Purpose:

To gather information from caregivers and dental professionals on current strategies to facilitate successful oral care encounters for cASD.

Methods:

Two focus groups with parents of cASD (9 parents with children aged 5-18 years) and two focus groups with 7 dental practitioners who treat cASD were conducted. Semi-structured questions were asked about the oral care related challenges experienced by cASD and the strategies employed to address them. Each session lasted 2.5-3 hours in duration and was transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis following a grounded theory approach was used to analyze the data by 3 independent coders.

Results:

Three themes emerged from the parent focus groups. The first theme, What Makes a Good Dentist, focused on the dentist’s knowledge, understanding, and experience. The second theme, Tricks, Tactics, and Diversions, described different techniques to improve dental visits. The last theme, Preparation, Preparation, Preparation, explored parent-implemented strategies.

In the dentist focus groups, four themes emerged. The first theme, Parents Know Best, described how dentists often valued parental expertise regarding care techniques. The second theme, Desensitization, explored strategies for preparation in the home and at the dental office. The third theme, Network of Colleagues, referred to dentists seeking advice of other health care professionals regarding working with the ASD population, as well as mentoring new dentists. The last theme, Flexibility, focused on dentists doing “whatever it takes” to accommodate the needs of cASD.

Conclusions:

Focus group findings provide insight into the techniques perceived by parents and dental providers to lead to successful dental care encounters for cASD. This information has the potential to improve care for this population by identifying areas for modification to create the optimal experience for cASD and their parents.

Relationship to Occupational Science

Caring for a child with ASD is a unique and challenging experience.3 Better understanding of these strategies can help to improve oral care for cASD, and illuminate the particularities of how cASD engage in everyday occupations.3 Discussion about how to facilitate better experiences for cASD in dental settings also has potential to help mitigate the health disparities faced by this marginalized population.

Key Words: Autism, oral care, children

Discussion Questions:

1. How do these oral care strategies impact the experience of everyday occupations for cASD?

2. How is engagement and participation in oral health affected by a diagnosis of ASD?