Parenting

Dental and eye exams for children with special needs

Amy writes about Talia's experiences with a specialized paediatric dentist and eye doctor.

Photo by makelessnoise via Flickr

At 6:30 this morning, Talia comes into our room and kisses us awake. “I’m so excited to get my teeth cleaned,” she says.

Amazingly, a visit to the dentist is now one of her favourite outings. Tal especially adores Karen — her super-fun and talented dental hygienist. It wasn’t always this way. When she was younger, Talia could only endure a few seconds in the dentist chair before running away crying. To have her teeth cleaned we had to put her under general anesthetic at the hospital. In my community, we’re blessed to have a special needs paediatric dentist. To serve our kids, the dentist and staff use creativity, patience and humour. Pure gold.

As well, Tal is a patient at a special needs optometry clinic. Like many kids at the clinic, she often refused to sit in the examination chair. Unfazed, the eye doctor expertly checked her eyes as she ran around the room and watched a Sesame Street video. Gradually, over the years, Tal has progressed to happily sitting in the chair for an eye exam.

Our kids deserve excellent care. But, especially in smaller communities, finding appropriate medical help can be impossible. As always, word of mouth is key to finding help. We all need a network of “special needs parents.”

How do your kids handle the dentist or eye doctor? Do you have health professionals catering to kids with special needs in your community? How did you find them?

Photo by makelessnoise via Flickr