Academic journal article International Journal of Child Health and Human Development

Sensory Sensitivity and Oral Carein Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Academic journal article International Journal of Child Health and Human Development

Sensory Sensitivity and Oral Carein Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Article excerpt

Oral care is integral to health and function. Children with disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are at particular risk for poor oral care. This may be exacerbated by sensory sensitivities common to children with ASD. Sensory sensitivities are associated with anxiety and behavior problems, the greatest barrier to general dentists' willingness to treat children with disabilities.

Objectives: This study examined whether children with ASD, in comparison to typical developing children, have increased oral care difficulties, and whether these difficulties are linked to sensory sensitivities.

Methods: Anoral care survey was distributed and completed by parents of 398 children, an ASD Group (n=196) and Typical Group (n=202), ages 2-18 years. Focus groups were conducted with parents and with dentists to examine dental care experiences.

Results: A significantly higher percentage children with ASD experienced difficulty with almost all aspects of oral care, in comparison with TD children. Moreover, a significantly higher percentage of children in the ASD group experienced over- sensitivity in each of the sensory domains in comparison to typical children. Within the ASD group, 74% of parents reported that their child was "moderately-extremely" oversensitive to 3+ sensory modalities, significantly more than parents of typical children (15%). …

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