Autism is developmental disability. It is a complicated disorder that can have a significant affect on social and behavioral abilities, along with the ability to communicate with others. Children and adults with autism often seem to others to distant and detached from the world around them. Responses to questions, reactions to events and emotions are often not appropriate. Behaviors can include body movements that are repetitive and obsessive in nature, and reactions to stimuli are often exaggerated.
Autism itself involves an entire spectrum of behaviors, and the disability has a wide range of severity and symptoms which can range from mild to moderate to severe.
Dental care for autistic children is especially challenging. When you really think about it, the dentist-patient relationship requires a great deal of communication and trust. Even the simplest dental care like a cleaning is an experience that people without a disability do not like. The majority of people rely on a relationship built on trust and communication over time.. So when you consider an autistic child who processes the world differently, needed dental care is often a challenge. Communication is difficult, responses are often exaggerated and unanticipated. Children with special needs require added levels of patience, understanding and TLC. There are times when autistic children require special surroundings, or anesthesia to have dental care, but we have found that these instances are few and far between. As our experience has grown over the years in treating children with special needs, we have been able to successfully create lasting relationships with our patients and their families. Regular care is essential, and the longer that care is neglected, chances are that problems worsen over time. There is nothing more heartbreaking than to see parents struggle with the opposing problems of avoiding care because they do not want to see their children suffer and having to watch their children suffer from inappropriate care or because of emergencies brought on by avoidance of care.
Huntington Bay Dental is proud to be sponsoring its third annual Huntington Bay Dental For Autism Event in support of the NSSA – the Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism. The NSSA was founded to provide services that meet the unique needs of individuals and families touched by autism. The goal of these services is to maximize potential, to enable individuals with autism to more fully participate in family life, to prepare for the transition to increasingly less restrictive educational environments, to develop the skills necessary for future employment, and to develop the skills that facilitate full participation in community living. Please join Huntington Bay Dental and our family of friends and patients on March 8 from 6:30 to 8:30 at the Watermill inSmithtown.