Dentists need to collaborate with occupational therapists to provide ASD-specific strategies: Study
Dentists can collaborate with Occupational Therapists (OTs) to provide Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)-specific strategies, suggests a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in initiating social interactions, maintaining social communication, and a range of restricted repetitive behaviours (RRBs), interests, and activities. Deficits in social interactions and communication include challenges in social-emotional reciprocity, non-verbal communication, and establishing, or even understanding, relationships.
Restricted repetitive behaviours (RRBs) include repetitive mannerisms (hand flapping, rocking), stereotyped behaviours, unusually strong interests, or perseverations. Sensory hypo- or hyper-reactivity to sensory stimuli recently has been added to this category. As the name suggests, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a continuum from mild to severe
Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are at risk for oral health disparities. With the dramatic rise in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) prevalence to 1 in 54 children, it is likely that an increasing number of dental practitioners will encounter or be asked to treat children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
A group of researchers conducted reviews of explanations related to the increasing prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), provides reasons why children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are at increased risk for poor oral health, and discusses unique interprofessional collaborations between dental practitioners and occupational therapists.
Thus, the researchers concluded that occupational therapists and dentists can work together to plan modifications to the dental environment or adapt dental protocols to reduce some of the barriers encountered by those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), provide desensitization strategies before the clinic visit, or help a child with emotional regulation during clinical treatments.
Oral Health and Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Unique Collaboration between Dentistry and Occupational Therapy by Como D et. al published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.