Research Article  |   April 2015
Feasibility of a Sensory-Adapted Dental Environment for Children With Autism
Author Affiliations
  • Sharon A. Cermak, EdD, OTR/L, is Professor, Mrs. T. H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; cermak@usc.edu
  • Leah I. Stein Duker, PhD, OTR/L, is Postdoctoral Fellow, Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • Marian E. Williams, PhD, is Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Christianne Joy Lane,PhD, is Assistant Professor, Division of Biostatistics, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • Michael E. Dawson, PhD, is Professor, Department of Psychology, Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • Ann E. Borreson, MD, is Research Associate, Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • José C. Polido, DDS, MS, is Division Head—Dentistry, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and Assistant Professor of Clinical Dentistry, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Article Information
Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Sensory Integration and Processing / Children and Youth
Research Article   |   April 2015
Feasibility of a Sensory-Adapted Dental Environment for Children With Autism
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, April 2015, Vol. 69, 6903220020p1-6903220020p10. doi:10.5014/ajot.2015.013714
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, April 2015, Vol. 69, 6903220020p1-6903220020p10. doi:10.5014/ajot.2015.013714
Abstract

OBJECTIVE. To provide an example of an occupational therapy feasibility study and evaluate the implementation of a randomized controlled pilot and feasibility trial examining the impact of a sensory-adapted dental environment (SADE) to enhance oral care for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

METHOD. Twenty-two children with ASD and 22 typically developing children, ages 6–12 yr, attended a dental clinic in an urban hospital. Participants completed two dental cleanings, 3–4 mo apart, one in a regular environment and one in a SADE. Feasibility outcome measures were recruitment, retention, accrual, dropout, and protocol adherence. Intervention outcome measures were physiological stress, behavioral distress, pain, and cost.

RESULTS. We successfully recruited and retained participants. Parents expressed satisfaction with research study participation. Dentists stated that the intervention could be incorporated in normal practice. Intervention outcome measures favored the SADE condition.

CONCLUSION. Preliminary positive benefit of SADE in children with ASD warrants moving forward with a large-scale clinical trial.