6 year old girl refusing to go to the dentist

Therapist: Desi Theodosiou

6 year old girl refusing to go to the dentist

This young girl refused to go to the dentist, she had meltdowns when the “dentist” word was mentioned.

Young girl with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) level 2, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and a speech and language impairment.

This young girl was very distressed by the unknown. She was very anxious about attending the dentist as she did not know what to expect (e.g. what happens at the dentist, how long it takes, what tools they use, etc).

We spent a small amount of time session slowly introducing the concept of the dentist, and gradually increased the time we spent each session discussing this topic. We explored this experience through YouTube videos and google searches, then had discussions and re-enacted components of the “dentist experience” in session. The client made a social story based on our learnings (each session completed 1-3 pages of the social story). The client also taught others in the office about the dentist and what is expected.

Due to the intensity of the client’s fear, we started with just one sentence about the dentist at the first session, and then built on from this (each session added a few more minutes to the discussion time). After fortnightly sessions for 12 months, the client attended the dentist and had her teeth checked and cleaned!