Applied Behavior Analysis: Behavior Management of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Dental Environments

Published March 1, 2011 in Journal of the American Dental Association, Hernandez et al.

Many parents of a child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can attest that dental visits are challenging for their child. Current behavior management techniques currently used in dentistry do not encourage children with ASDs to tolerate periodic dental procedures such as cleanings and obtaining radiographs. In this study, researchers studied the behavior management techniques and how they could be improved. They concluded that Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)—a procedure clinicians use to modify socially significant behaviors of children with ASDs—could be integrated in the dental office to modify the problematic behaviors. Currently, there is no evidence-based procedural modifications that address the behavioral characteristics and problematic behaviors of children with ASDs in a dental environment, so further research needs to be conducted.

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