Queensway Dental Clinic and Queensway Orthodontics supported World Autism Awareness Week (27 March and 2 April) by encouraging staff to get involved in creating a better environment for people with autism.
There are around 700,000 people in the UK who are on the autism spectrum, and 1 in 10 young people are living with autism.
With this in mind, we wanted to do something to raise money and awareness for the National Autistic Society. Thanks to a little inspiration from the society’s fundraising pack, we raised £179 with a ‘Guess the Bear’s Name’ competition which was so popular among staff and patients that we had to make a mad dash to buy more two more prizes to keep up with demand!
But our fundraising didn’t end there, we also had a ‘jargon jar’ in all of our surgeries this week so that every time it’s used in conversation, a donation needs to be made! Many autistic people struggle with knowing what people mean when they use jargon, technical terminology or corporate speak.
This activity was a great way for us to raise money and support whilst thinking how we best communicate with our autistic patients. A trip to the dentist can be extremely stressful for an autistic person and we have explored how we can make Queensway a more autistic-friendly environment.
- We welcome a visit to our practice prior to an appointment to see the surroundings, waiting rooms, surgery and to meet staff for a ‘happy visit’ without having to sit in the dental chair.
- We can arrange an early appointment to minimise the wait time and a double-time slot to provide enough time not to feel rushed.
- We can provide visual supports for example, a sequence of photos to show the different steps involved in a trip to the orthodontist – from the initial appointment to having braces fitted, oral health and retainers.
- We welcome any comforters or distractors such as headphones or sunglasses to be bought to appointments.
When booking an appointment for an autistic patient please let us know so that we can plan the visit with you. You may also want to share with us any coping strategies so we can be as accommodating as possible.