Oral Health Group

Barrie hygienist develops way to help autistic patients

July 25, 2016
by Cheryl Browne, The Barrie Examiner

When Colleen Leduc’s patients enter her room, she dims the fluorescents and hits the sparkly lights switch.

As a dental hygienist and a mother of 19-year-old Victoria, her non-verbal autistic daughter, Leduc knows getting people with intellectual disabilities to even enter a dentist’s office can be a challenge.

“Some people want to sniff the entire environment five times before they’re comfortable,” Leduc said, sitting on her stool in a typical dental hygienists room at Maplewood Dentistry on Barrie View Drive in the city’s south-end.

“Others want to examine every room, and all the lights will be dimmed for them. It’s all about desensitization,” Leduc said.

Once children or adults are comfortable, she’ll place the heavy X-ray vest and/or thyroid collar on them for added weight.

“(Autistic) children want to feel secure. It’s like there’s a lack (knowledge) of where they are in space. This,” she said lifting the heavy lead-filled protector, “can act as a hug.”

Her idea to offer her services to autistic patients came after realizing her daughter’s reaction to new clinical environments was all too commonplace with children or low-functioning adults with autism.

To view the full article, please visit: http://www.thebarrieexaminer.com/2016/07/23/barrie-dental-hygienist-helping-those-with-autism

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