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UK dental professionals’ knowledge, experience and confidence when treating patients on the autism spectrum

Eades, D; Leung, P; Cronin, A; Monteiro, J; Johnson, A; Remington, A; (2019) UK dental professionals’ knowledge, experience and confidence when treating patients on the autism spectrum. The British Dental Journal , 227 pp. 504-510. 10.1038/s41415-019-0786-5.

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Abstract

Background: Over 1% of the UK population have a diagnosis of autism, and yet there is minimal information regarding the experiences of dental professionals working with people on the autistic spectrum. The current study is the first to investigate UK dental professionals' knowledge of autism, their perceived confidence when treating autistic patients, and the factors that affect this. Methods: An online, self-report survey was completed by 482 UK dental professionals and included questions on participants' training, prior experiences and knowledge of autism, and confidence when treating autistic patients. Results: Over half the respondents reported having no formal autism training but average knowledge levels across the whole sample were good. Conversely, levels of confidence were only moderate. Respondents often cited conflict between understanding the additional needs for successful treatment of autistic patients and a lack of resources to implement support strategies. Despite this, the vast majority were positive about making the necessary modifications to support autistic patients. Conclusion: This study highlights ways in which UK dental professionals adapt their practices to meet the needs of their autistic patients, yet report only moderate confidence levels when doing so. Implications for future training initiatives are discussed.

Type: Article
Title: UK dental professionals’ knowledge, experience and confidence when treating patients on the autism spectrum
DOI: 10.1038/s41415-019-0786-5
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-019-0786-5
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10076052
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