Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sensory Adaptations, Developmentally Disabled Children and the Dentist

New research published in the Journal of Pediatrics reports that 16 children (ages 6-11 years old) with developmental disabilities had decreased anxiety during dental visits when a sensory adapted environment was used. The study compared developmentally disabled children to typical peers. During the first dental visit, no environmental adaptations were used. During the second dental visit, each group experienced a sensory adapted environment of
1. color lamp
2. examiner wore LED headlamp aiming light directly at patient's mouth
3. soothing music
4. wearing a heavy vest to give feeling of a hug
5. vibration in the dental chair.

During the second visit, anxiety levels were decreased in all children. The children with developmental disabilities experienced a more significant decrease in anxiety.

These are very simple adaptations to try during a dental visit. Keep in mind, that each child reacts differently to certain sensory stimuli. For example, one child may like the vibration and one child may find it to be noxious. A trained occupational therapist could offer further suggestions on an individual basis for children with developmental disabilities.

Reference: Michele Shapiro OT, MSca, b, , , Harold D. Sgan-Cohen DMD, MPHc, Shula Parush OT, PhDb and Raphael N. Melmed MD, FRCPd Influence of Adapted Environment on the Anxiety of Medically Treated Children with Developmental Disability The Journal of Pediatrics
Volume 154, Issue 4, April 2009, Pages 546-550

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...