Visit to the dentist - Summary

Taheera Khan

Date: 22/03/23

This past month, we shared some animations of a dental visit, featuring an autistic child, their parent, and a dental professional.

They kindly shared their experience and perspectives, offering an insight into how they were feeling throughout the scenario. It can be an unnerving experience for many autistic people and their families, and the anxiety is only heightened by judgement from onlookers.

By watching this short film, viewers can observe what happens in the background for some autistic people when attending a medical appointment. The crowds, the noise, and the bright lights can become overwhelming, and some individuals may turn to stimming to help self-regulate.

The assumptions we make define the reality we see – we wanted to encourage the public to look beyond the surface and empathise with the challenges happening behind the scenes.

How can we be an autism ally?

Instead of making assumptions about a person who may be behaving differently, take a moment to consider their perspective. It may have taken a lot of preparation to get them into that waiting room.

Sometimes, a little bit of support can go a long way. Taking the time to ask what someone needs and listening without any judgement can offer a great deal of reassurance in a stressful situation.

It can be a lonely and isolating time, and knowing someone’s got your back makes all the difference.

By accepting differences and showing patience and understanding, it can make a challenging situation just that bit easier.

Kindness and understanding should be the blueprint for how you treat everyone.

Thanking our hidden heroes…

Despite the difficult start to the dental visit, Robyn’s friendly and welcoming manner eased much of Archie and Rebecca’s anxieties.

By shining a light on hidden heroes like Robyn, we can see how his compassionate approach had a positive impact.

He was kind and patient, listening to Archie’s needs and making any necessary adjustments to make his visit as comfortable as possible.

We hope that, through this example, other professionals and members of the public can learn the simple ways to make a positive difference to someone’s experience and be an ally.

A huge thank you to Archie, Rebecca, and Robyn for sharing their perspectives.

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