Updated: Dec 9, 2019
I've started working at a local school for autistic children which is already so rewarding! My role there is to help desensitise the pupils to the dentist (my other profession) in order to make it easier for them and their parents when they visit their own dentists. I've only had one morning there so far but they've already had lots of success doing something similar with a hair-dresser and have now recruited myself and a GP to help with other every day challenges which can be difficult for the children to cope with.
I started off basic by introducing them to some items they might see at the dentist, letting them try on the dentist's mask and gloves, the patient bib and goggles and holding the dental mirror. Being able to take the lead in certain classes was fantastic and gave me a great opportunity to interact with the pupils and feel (almost) like a proper teacher (although I know I'm far from it)! I have so much respect for the teachers there and was so impressed by how they care for their pupils.
Observing the tutors and other staff at the school gave me a bit of insight into their everyday and I've already learned so much about some of the more extreme ends of the autistic spectrum and how I can help communicate with those affected by it. It will not only help the pupils attend their dentist appointments but will hopefully help me to help my own patients and clients who are on the spectrum to feel more comfortable in my presence.