A Trip to the Dentist

A trip to the dentist. To most families, this looks like no big deal.
For many families like ours, THIS is a HUGE deal.
This is my son Jordan. He is 27 and autistic. This is something we never imagined would be a reality. Being awake and cooperative in a dental chair, WHAT?
Alongside Jordan's autism, there is an anxiety component which has always been one of his biggest struggles. It's the fear of the unknown and not being able to predict what will happen that is anxiety-provoking.
He also has significant sensory issues. Many autistic individuals have sensory sensitivities, and the sensory experience of a dental visit can be overwhelming. The bright lights, loud noises, strange smells, and physical sensations of dental tools and instruments can be uncomfortable or even painful.
Dental visits for YEARS always involved sedation. It was the only way he could tolerate having his teeth cleaned. We never gave up. We didn't stop going to the dentist. We kept practicing. We did many practice visits so he could navigate the tools. He turned them on and off, he listened to them, he felt the vibration of them, he sprayed the water on his hand, and with each visit, he became a little more comfortable. We found a dental office that was willing to help us help him.
Find the right dentist and be sure they are aware of the challenges that your children may face during their visits so they are prepared to provide additional support and accommodations to help them feel comfortable and safe.
This post is meant to encourage those of you who are in a place where it is hard to see what might be possible for your child. You simply can't know.
I want our story to inspire you to NEVER give up. Don't stop trying new things (even the dentist), even when it is hard and I know hard, trust me, we have been through many really hard things along this journey just like you.
Our children on the spectrum are on their own timeline and I want you to always BELIEVE in what is possible and never give up HOPE.   Jordan continues to be an example of what is possible 💙 It's his timeline, not ours...
This was written by Shannon Urquiola at Not Your Average Autism Mom.
Thank you for being part of our journey.

Shannon shares her lived experiences in hopes of creating a more inclusive world for our children and adults on the spectrum. 

Our mission is to equip families with resources, training, coaching, and community support. We believe if you are willing to expose yourself, your child, and your family to the world with kindness and honesty that compassion and understanding will follow.

She presents to organizations and businesses in person and virtually.

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