The study, led by Leah Stein Duker, PhD, OTR/L, of the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, in partnership with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and assisted by USC’s Ostrow School of Dentistry, found that the children’s behavior and nervous system showed a greater state of relaxation in dental offices with dimmer lighting, soothing sounds and slow-motion cartoons and visual effects projected onto the ceiling.

Compared to typically developing peers, autistic children experience greater oral health care challenges, which are often associated with heightened responses to sensory input, such as the fluorescent lighting and loud dental tools found in regular dental offices.

The results were published in JAMA Network Open.

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