A social story is a visual aid for children on the Autism Spectrum. We have worked very hard on a custom story, specific to Primary Care, please click on link below to read the whole Story.
Children learn with all of their senses – we always explain what we are going to do in ‘kid friendly’ words, then show them the tools we will be using and often demonstrate on their finger what it may feel like on their tooth. They can also touch and smell the various materials so they become less daunting. We move at the child’s pace so as not to frighten him or her with unexpected noises.
Praise for a job well done goes a lot further than focusing on a negative behavior. To encourage a behavior we want, we will say things like, “Good job holding your hands on your tummy,” or “You are so great at opening your mouth wide so I can see!”
Changing the level of our voices, or the volume or the tone can have a huge impact on a child’s behavior. For example, if a child is screaming in protest, a low whisper in their ear can often trigger silence because he or she really wants to hear what you have to say. A calm, soothing voice gives the child confidence that they are safe.
Body language and eye contact can have a powerful effect on children’s behavior. A child will try to please the adult by matching his or her behavior to a conducive expression on the adult’s face.
Complimenting children on their shoes, hair clips or clothing, or asking them about their day at school or discussing their pets at home, begins to develop a rapport with the doctor. Then, it is easier to introduce new things because we are not strangers to them anymore. Also, something that may be even a little bit unpleasant is ignored by the child because he or she is engaged with pleasing the doctor or storytelling.
An older sibling or even a twin can be a perfect role model to how one is supposed to behave at a dental visit. We may invite siblings back to demonstrate how they sit still and open their mouth. We may also ask siblings to sit together in the dental chair – to alleviate fear of the unknown.
Children are not born with dental fear. However, they can have fear of the unknown, fear from their parents’ stories and previous experiences and fear from their own previous experience in a doctor setting. We aim to discover each child’s specific needs and adapt our approach so he or she is most comfortable. Some children perform better with their parents present and others benefit from independence from their parents.
We are happy for parents to accompany their children into the treatment area, particularly if your child is new to us, is very young or has certain medical conditions. We encourage parents to allow their children to explore and gain independence as their relationship with us grows.