Autism Speaks, the autism science and advocacy organization, has released a free guide for dental professionals treating children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The guide, Treating Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Tool Kit for Dental Professionals, provides up-to-date information about individuals with ASD and how to facilitate a successful office visit for children with autism.

According to the guide, patients with ASD may present with dental conditions resulting from behaviors associated with ASD or diets often higher than normal in carbohydrates, which can lead to dental decay. Dentists and therapists with the Autism Speaks Autism Therapy Network developed the guide after observing that dentists, despite being well-versed in strategies for treating children, often feel unprepared for interacting with patients with the special sensitivities and medical issues often associated with autism. The Tool Kit is designed to help orthodontists, hygienists, and office staff better serve the needs of this growing patient population during office visits using behavioral approaches.

The Tool Kit is available for free download on Autism Speaks’ Tools You Can Use Web page. In addition, a companion Dental Guide, which provides information about oral health and dental hygiene for families, previously published by Autism Speaks, can be found on the same page.