Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 45, Issue 9, pp 2876–2888 | Cite as

Sensory Adapted Dental Environments to Enhance Oral Care for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study

  • Sharon A. Cermak
  • Leah I. Stein Duker
  • Marian E. Williams
  • Michael E. Dawson
  • Christianne J. Lane
  • José C. Polido
Original Paper

Abstract

This pilot and feasibility study examined the impact of a sensory adapted dental environment (SADE) to reduce distress, sensory discomfort, and perception of pain during oral prophylaxis for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Participants were 44 children ages 6–12 (n = 22 typical, n = 22 ASD). In an experimental crossover design, each participant underwent two professional dental cleanings, one in a regular dental environment (RDE) and one in a SADE, administered in a randomized and counterbalanced order 3–4 months apart. Outcomes included measures of physiological anxiety, behavioral distress, pain intensity, and sensory discomfort. Both groups exhibited decreased physiological anxiety and reported lower pain and sensory discomfort in the SADE condition compared to RDE, indicating a beneficial effect of the SADE.

Keywords

Autism spectrum disorder Electrodermal activity Skin conductance Sensory processing Oral health Occupational therapy Dental anxiety 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Herman Ostrow School of DentistryUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics, USC Keck School of MedicineUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Keck School of Medicine of USCUniversity of Southern California University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (USC UCEDD), Children’s Hospital Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychology of the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and SciencesUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  5. 5.Division of Biostatistics, Department of Preventive MedicineUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  6. 6.Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Herman Ostrow School of DentistryUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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