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05-03-2020 | Original Paper | Uitgave 11/2020

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 11/2020

A Dental Communication Board as an Oral Care Tool for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders > Uitgave 11/2020
Magandhree Naidoo, Shenuka Singh
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Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) sometimes display an inability for information sharing through functional verbal communication. This may interfere with professional oral care. These children tend to process visual information more efficiently than auditory information. Picture schedules can briefly suffice as visual cues serving a vital function in helping children with ASD to function in a particular setting such as an oral care environment. A visual communication implement such as a dental communication board was developed in this study to allow for a facilitated communication process between the patient with ASD and the oral care professional. This study entailed two main phases, namely the selection of symbols for the construction of a dental communication board and the small scale testing of the board in a clinical setting. This study incorporated a combination of a quantitative non-experimental descriptive survey combined with a concurrent mixed method survey design which retrieved data for both close-ended and open-ended questions from the same respondent. A quantitative survey questionnaire at a structured dental seminar presentation was employed for the first phase, and a combination of a quantitative and qualitative questionnaire was employed for the second phase of this study. Documented responses were collated and analyzed using frequency and thematic analysis. The most frequently selected symbols were retrieved after a frequency analysis and displayed on a color coded background to distinguish the various categories on the dental communication board. The thematic analysis resulted in the emergence of three main themes, namely the strengths of the board; weakness of the board and suggestions. This study anticipates the incorporation of a dental communication board as a visual mode using graphic symbols to augment expressive and receptive language in an oral care environment to facilitate professional oral care for children with ASD.

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