Talk with Pediatric Dental Students (NY UCEDD/LEND)

February 6, 2017

Lisa Latten, Family Advocacy Fellow at SCDD/LEND in Rochester NY recently spoke to Pediatric Dental students at University of Rochester Eastman Dental Center about the importance of including families in treatment plans. Lisa is the parent of a child with autism, and a Family Navigator at the Kirch Developmental Center at SCDD. Lisa shares her impressions below.

I had the opportunity to speak to the pediatric dental students about the parent perspective of autism and barriers to seeking dental care.

The medical students were interested in learning more about how to better manage behaviors and get "buy in" from the parents. They were also eager to learn more about autism and reasons for not seeking dental treatment.

I was able to share the importance of providers asking parents to be a part of the treatment plan and asking what things work best for their child. I also discussed how children can benefit from social stories and PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) to help alleviate appointment/procedure stress.

I talked briefly that sometimes dental care gets pushed to the bottom of the "to do list" because autism encompasses so many appointments.

The students were eager to learn and implement my suggestions to improve care.

In addition to educating medical students, Lisa provides a family perspective to others through local, state, and national conference presentations, workshops, and committee memberships. Lisa is also a member of a new University of Rochester Medical Center team working on Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO). The ECHO team works collaboratively to provide online curricula to community-based physicians. Lisa is enjoying connecting her LEND experience with her role as Family Navigator at Kirch Developmental Center at Golisano Children's Hospital in Rochester.