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Caregivers' Barriers to Dental Care for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Purpose: To investigate caregivers' perspective on barriers to dental care for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Methods: A cross-sectional survey assessing perceived barriers to dental care was administered to 46 caregivers who had a child with ASD (study group) and 37 who had children without ASD (control group) but with chronic health issues.
Results: The barriers most frequently reported in the study group were difficulty finding a dentist who would treat their child (32 percent) and the child's uncooperative behavior (39 percent). A significantly higher number of caregivers of children with ASD agreed that their child was uncooperative and that such behavior was a barrier to finding care (chi-square=15.22, P =0.0001). The number of barriers reported by caregivers of children with ASD was greater than that reported by the other caregivers. Caregivers of children with severe ASD perceived having the most barriers to care.
Conclusion: There are many barriers faced by caregivers in getting dental treatment for their children with ASD. Understanding the difficulty caregivers have in securing dental care for their children with ASD may help dentists and agencies work to improve access.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Dr. Taneja is in private practice, Stockton, Calif., USA;, Email: [email protected] 2: Dr. Litt is a professor, Division of Behavioral Sciences and Community Health, at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, Farmington, Conn., USA

Publication date: May 1, 2020

More about this publication?
  • Acquired after the merger between the American Society of Dentistry for Children and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry in 2002, the Journal of Dentistry for Children (JDC) is an internationally renowned journal whose publishing dates back to 1934. Published three times a year, JDC promotes the practice, education and research specifically related to the specialty of pediatric dentistry. It covers a wide range of topics related to the clinical care of children, from clinical techniques of daily importance to the practitioner, to studies on child behavior and growth and development. JDC also provides information on the physical, psychological and emotional conditions of children as they relate to and affect their dental health.
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