How to teach brushing skills & maintain proper oral hygiene?
We need to give special consideration to maintaining oral hygiene in kids with autism, which might be a challenging one, especially when the kid has oral sensitivity.
Many kids have oral sensitivity therefore, For kids with oral sensitivity, a detailed sensory assessment has to be done by the professionals, which is followed by desensitization therapy.
The prerequisites for brushing skill:
- Able to open and close the lid
- Able to hold the brush
- Attention and concentration
- Knowing directions
Like the other ADL skills, oral hygiene for kids & the brushing task can also be split into steps.
|Step 1||Show a video of the brushing activity so that the child would anticipate the skill he is going to learn.|
|Step 2||Model yourself and prove to the kid that it is not going to hurt and it’s part of our daily routine.|
|Step 3||Choose a bright-colored brush or a color of the child’s interest. Make sure to choose soft-bristled brushes only. Choosing a battery-operated brush will be easier for the kid to learn at the beginning.|
|Step 4||Choose a toothpaste that should not irritate the child. If the child can’t tolerate any kind of toothpaste, then using just the brush should be fine.|
|Step 5||Make the child stand in front of the mirror and the trainer should stand behind the child|
|Step 6||Now make the child press a little amount of toothpaste, from the tube, on his/her brush (assistance can be provided initially and don’t forget to fade the assistance)|
|Step 7||Now let the child grab the toothbrush.|
|Step 8||Prepare a poster or stick pictures that explain the direction for brushing. Hold the child’s hand and assist the child along with the verbal command.|
|Step 9||Once the brushing is done, make the child bend down to spit the foam, here, again the verbal command is very essential.|
|Step 10||Next, allow the child to clean the brush thoroughly and replace it in the stand.|
|Step 11||It’s time to wash and gargle the mouth with water, in a bent down position. The temperature of the water must not be too cold nor hot, make sure it is lukewarm. A verbal command to gargle and spit has to be repeated each time so that, the child would remember to spit.|
It is crucial to maintain the bent down position for spitting the foam while washing the mouth. Therefore, there will be fewer chances for the child to swallow the foam and water.