April is National Autism Awareness Month: Are you prepared?

Autism affects one in every 88 children in America. In order to highlight the need for concern and awareness about this condition, National Autism Awareness Month has been celebrated in April since the 1970s. Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS, talks about the prevalence of autism and sources for information on treating patients with autism in the dental hygiene operatory.

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April is National Autism Awareness Month.

In order to highlight the growing need for concern and awareness about autism, the Autism Society has been celebrating National Autism Awareness Month since the 1970s. The United States recognizes April as a special opportunity for everyone to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community. The Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon is the most recognized symbol of the autism community in the world. Autism prevalence is now one in every 88 children in America. Show your support for people with autism by wearing the Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon, as a pin on your shirt, a magnet on your car, a badge on your blog, or even your Facebook profile picture, and educate folks on the potential of people with autism!

To learn more about the Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon visit the website.(1)

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If you wish to make a difference with this condition, contact your representatives on the state and federal level and ask them to "Vote 4 Autism." For more information about this legislation and to take action to support it, visit the website.(2)

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On a more local level, many Autism Society local affiliates hold special events in their communities throughout the month of April. However, if you cannot find an event that suits you, you can create your own event. 1Power4Autism is an online tool that makes it easy to mobilize friends and family and help make a difference.(3,4)

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The Autism Society is working with AMC Theatres to bring special-needs families Sensory Friendly Films every month.(5)

Inclusion is a very important concept, and below are links to resources for first and second grade students to help them learn more about autism.

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The Special Needs Acceptance Book(6) and The Autism Acceptance Book(7) by Ellen Sabin: these books have open-ended exercises and classroom activities for kindergarten through sixth grade students.

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My Friend with Autism(8) by Beverly Bishop: the author, a parent of a child with autism, created this book with vivid illustrations and a charming storyline as part of her inclusion curriculum for her son’s classmates and teachers.

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The Kindergarten Adventures of Amazing Grace by Briana Pacelli: A brother and sister wrote and illustrated this storybook about acceptance.(9)

For an article on treating patients with autism in the dental hygiene operatory, see this site.(10) There is a Dental Tool Kit available for download(11), and a dental guide.(12)

Healthy Smiles for Autism is available, and provides Oral Hygiene Tips for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.(13) And last, but certainly not least, read Building Bridges: Dental Care for Patients with Autism and Building Bridges - Part 2: Understanding and Guiding the Dental Patient with Autism by Ann-Marie DePalma, RDH, MEd, FAADH, and Karen A. Raposa, RDH, MBA.(14,15)

References
1. http://www.autism-society.org/about-us/puzzle-ribbon.html.
2. www.autism-society.org/vote4autism.
3. http://support.autism-society.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Calendar.
4. http://support.autism-society.org/site/PageServer?pagename=1Power_LandingPage.
5. http://www.autism-society.org/get-involved/events/sensory-friendly-films/.
6. http://www.amazon.com/dp/0975986856?tag=friecircspecn-20.
7. http://www.amazon.com/dp/0975986821?tag=friecircspecn-20.
8. http://www.amazon.com/dp/193527418X?tag=friecircspecn-20.
9. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1933750154?tag=friecircspecn-20.
10. http://www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-28/issue-3/columns/from-the-podium/preparing-for-autistic-patients.html.
11. http://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/tool-kits/dental-tool-kit.
12. http://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/documents/dentalguide.pdf.
13. http://www.amchp.org/programsandtopics/CYSHCN/projects/spharc/Documents/autism_dental_from_national_museum_of_dentistry1.pdf.
14. http://www.ineedce.com/courses/1554/PDF/AutismSpeaks.pdf.
15. http://www.ineedce.com/courses/1832/PDF/BuildingBridges2.pdf.

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Maria Perno Goldie, RDH, MS

To read previous RDH eVillage FOCUS articles by Maria Perno Goldie, click here.

To read more about autism and dental hygiene, click here.

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