A View on What Having a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder Might Mean

Published: 2021-09-23 20:40:06
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Category: Health Care

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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a severe and lifetime developmental disability that can cause major communication, social and behavior problems. The level of severity of people with ASD can range from mild to more advanced. Some people with more severe condition use very few spoken words and have extreme difficulty coping with change. According to the statistics from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 68 American children were diagnosed with ASD, which is about ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. More than 3 millions persons are influenced by ASD in the United States, and the number of children diagnosed with ASD continues to increase. Research indicated that boys were almost five times more likely to be diagnosed with ASD than girls, and white children were more diagnosed with ASD than black or Hispanic children. ASD is considered to be one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders, and this is possibly from improved diagnosis and environmental influences.
Due to the characteristics and symptoms ASD, autistic children are at greater risk for oral diseases. It can be difficult for the dental providers to provide treatments for autistic children due to a poor ability to communicate, limited attention space and a low frustration threshold. The dental visit for autistic children can be more time-consuming process and children need multiple visits for a routine check-up, and sometime require advanced behavior management techniques. Recent research study based on parental report found that parents of ASD children had more difficulty in locating a dentist willing to provide comprehensive dental care. In addition, other study indicated that autistic children in the United States had more of their teeth in fair or poor condition compare to healthy children. Poor oral health can cause eating difficulties, oral pain, missed days of school, and decreased self-esteem, which further compromise their overall health and quality of life. Access to dental care is limited for children with ASD.The purpose of this study is to describe parental perceptions of access and barriers to comprehensive dental services for families of children with autistic spectrum disorders in Southern Nevada.
Parents of autistic children, 1-18 years of age, that are registered with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Center for Autism Spectrum Disorder (UNLV CASD) will be contacted to participate in the study. The UNLV CASD conducts community-focused research, assessment, and training of persons with autism spectrum disorders, their families, and community service providers in Southern Nevada. The CASD has approximately 1500 members on their listserv.
A survey link will be generated that will be embedded in the recruitment email that will be sent out through the CASD listserv. Survey is written in English and Spanish versions. Questionnaire is composed of 33 questions, 10 questions are adopted from previous research study conducted by Brickhouse et al. and the rest of the questions are developed with help of experiences public health and pediatric dentists.
The survey placed emphasis on finding barriers to accessing comprehensive dental care for ASD children, previous experiences at dental offices, and parents’ knowledge on dental care for children.
The data collection is currently in progress.
Access to dental care is important for children with special needs. Autistic children are at greater risk for oral diseases, which further compromise their overall health.

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