Special Need Patients
It is our strong belief that every child is unique and special consideration should be given to make your child as successful as possible. For some of our patients, this may require a little extra support. This section is designed to offer our families some tools and tips that may be helpful with our Special Needs Friends.
Social Story and Task Analysis
- Social Story: Our practice uses a social story to help children visually review the sequence of events that will occur when their child arrives for their appointment at our office. Click here to download our social story. We recommend that you review this social story with your child once a day for the two weeks leading up to their appointment. This social story will prepare your child by allowing them to 'see' the office and understand the steps they will go through. In addition, if you are able to stop in at our office Monday thru Friday around 1:15 pm, you will be able to take your child on a 'visit' which allows them to see the office environment. By reviewing the social story and seeing the environment, our experience has taught us that it increases the opportunity for a successful visit.
- Task Analysis: Another useful tool is the use of a Task Analysis. Click here to download our Task Analysis and Practice Worksheet. Here we break down the specific steps that you can practice at home with your child in advance of their appointment! Again, we recommend that you review and practice these steps daily with your child leading up to their appointment. If your child benefits from a visual task analysis and is using PECs Cards (Picture Exchange Cards), we have provided you with a copy of these as well. Click here to download the PECs cards. You'll also see that there is a progress worksheet that you can use. Completing this daily allows us to track a child's progress and identify areas we need to devise plans in order to improve upon.
If you have an iPad or iPhone, we encourage you to download a couple of apps from the Apple Apps Store. These apps are useful tools in working to prepare your child for their visit! Here are a few for your consideration:
'Voice-o-meter': Voice-o-meter is an app that can help teach your child how to keep their mouth open for an extended period of time. Oftentimes, we take this skill for granted, but it isn't always obvious to some children. As you will see, this app provides a meter - you simply ask your child to practice saying 'ahhhh...' for a certain amount of time. We recommend that you start with 5 seconds and build up their time.
'I Earned That': Many children benefit from the use of a Token Economy. As they progress through a task, they earn 'pieces' - once they have earned enough pieces, they then are rewarded with a positive motivator. This motivator can be anything that is most motivating to the child! A specific toy...earned time with a piece of technology...or even a food item such as chocolate (we vote for chocolate...maybe not Starbursts, or Gummie Bears :) We ARE dentists after all...). Using this app, take a picture of the item to be earned. As your child progresses through their appointment, they are given opportunities to earn a puzzle piece. Once they have completed the appointment and earned all of their puzzle pieces, they then receive their reward.
Options to explore with our dentists
Sometimes the best solution for your child is to explore options outside of the ones presented here. If your child has struggled with oral hygiene for a while and we need to move more quickly to treatment, we may need to explore other options. Our office offers two additional approaches to help your child. First, we offer the use of nitrous oxide in our office. Commonly referred to as 'Laughing Gas', nitrous oxide is a safe, effective gas that your child breaths in a controlled setting. Nitrous oxide allows the child to relax and affords our staff the ability to treat your child in a more comfortable setting. The second option we offer is to consider treatment under General Anesthesia. Dr. Kristine Grazioso has operating room rights at Franciscan Hospital for Children in Brighton, MA. If you think your child has immediate dental needs that may not be successfully addressed in our office setting, we encourage you to make an appointment to explore the OR option with Dr. G.
We hope you find some of these tips and tools helpful! We know that different things work best for different children so some of this may be trial and error. Please always know that our staff is singularly motivated on making your child successful in our office. We are always eager to learn so share your thoughts with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (781) 383 0003!