Autism and Medical Check-ups
Family can help calm a child with Autism. So often we may find ourselves focused so much on one particular disorder or illness, and forget that people can still get common colds and cavities. And that's the same for my son. I often find myself so caught up on trying to teach him behaviors, focus on speaking and spelling (he's becoming a wizz on the iPod Touch virtual keyboard), that I forget that he has other needs too. And, unfortunately for him, he inherited my baby teeth and now has at least one massive cavity.
Because my son has Autism and is non-verbal, he can't tell us that his jaw hurts when he tries to eat. So we need to rely on body language to help guide us. It's not easy, because any behavior caused by continuous pain could also be caused by his need for constant deep pressure. It's difficult to tell what the problem is, and how to best address it. It wasn't until I started looking into his mouth that I noticed a large cavity forming.
Now knowing that my son has a cavity, a new anxiety can take hold: the dentist. People generally don't like going to the dentist, and people with Autism like it even less. There is the lighting necessary to see within the mouth, and those who are light sensitive can have problems with that. There is the physical sensation of someone placing their fingers and objects within their mouths, and those with sensory issues may not like that. And then there is the need to sit back in a chair for long periods of time, or sit in a waiting room for long periods of time, and that's just not fun at all. So a visit to the dentist is something I have been dreading.
Luckily, within our area there is a dentist that specializes in treating children with Autism. They are sensitive to their special needs, and can cater to them accordingly. I'm not sure how, though our first appointment is this week so I will find out soon enough. It was a relief to my mind to even find a dentist willing to make the effort to work with a child with such sensory needs.Continued on the next page