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PDS Serve Foundation

Special Needs Patient Training for Dental Professionals, Staff, and Caregivers

Project Type: 
Special Needs
Amount Awarded: 
Grant Type: 
DTA Foundation

Visiting the dentist creates some level of anxiety for almost everyone. For patients with autism or other developmental disorders that create behavioral challenges, a dental appointment can create levels of stress and fear that make even basic oral health treatments impossible- causing frustration for patients, families, and dental professionals. Currently, many dentists have the desire to treat patients with special needs, but lack the practical skills and corresponding confidence to do so. Yet successfully treating special needs patients can be a deeply rewarding experience. The goal of this project is to train 100 dentists and their staff in behavioral and environmental techniques, allowing them to open their practices to patients with autism.

The DTA Foundation grant will help PDS Serve Foundation and its partners, Autism Speaks and A.T. Still University, to design a new hands-on training program to teach behavioral and environmental techniques that clinicians, dental assistants, and the entire office team can incorporate into their practices.  These hands-on training sessions will give dental professionals the confidence and motivation to fully integrate behavioral and environmental techniques into their practices, to better serve special needs patients.