New pediatric dentistry program in Florida aims to increase access for children and teens with autism and ease transition to adult care
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded Florida’s Nova Southeastern University’s College of Dental Medicine a $3.4 million grant to train dentists on the special sensitivities and strategies needed to care for the growing population of children and teens affected by autism.
The curriculum aims to increase access to dental care for children with autism, many of whom have great difficulty tolerating dental procedures. It will also train pediatric dentists on how to help these patients transition to adult dental care.
“Nova Southeastern University is committed to researching and implementing new techniques to help patients with special needs,” says Romer Ocanto, chair of the college’s department of pediatric dentistry. “We are excited about this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of so many people. This funding will allow us to partner with community organizations and general dentists in Florida and throughout the southeastern U.S. to enhance dental services available to patients with autism.”
The program may also serve as a model for similar curricula at colleges of dental medicine across the U.S.
For more information on autism and dentistry, also see the following Autism Speaks ATN/AIR-P tool kits for families and dental professionals. Follow the links to download them free of charge.