'Hi! My name is Joey. I'm 5 years old. In a couple of days, I am going to the dentist.'
Many children find the experience of visiting the dentist an uncomfortable one, and Joey is no exception.
He has Asperger Syndrome, which makes him particularly sensitive to the sensations that he experiences during a visit to the dentist: the feeling of cold instruments in his sensitive mouth, the piercing sound of the drill and the strong taste of mouthwash. He also dislikes the invasion of personal space which a trip to the dentist always involves.
However, Joey has strategies that will help him and other children to cope. Before he visits the dentist, he marks the date of the visit on his calendar, he practises counting his teeth with his dad, and also opening his mouth for other people to take a look inside.
Joey explains what to expect during a visit to the dentist - he describes how x-ray machines work and why they are important, why you need to wear a bib, and lists the different kinds of tools that dentists use.
This colourful picture book features photographs throughout. It will be a source of information and advice for families of children with autism spectrum disorders or related conditions, and the professionals who work with them, including dental professionals.
Candace Vittorini is Autism Specialist, Spring Lake Park and Columbia Heights, Minnesota. She worked with children with autism spectrum disorders for over eight years at Camp Discovery and also as a consultant in schools. She is the parent of two children, one of whom has Asperger Syndrome.