Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back To The Dentist Time - I'm SO Impressed with our Boys

I'm so proud of Justin and Ryan!  They did an absolutely awesome job at the dentist's office today.  Ryan had been looking forward to his August 24th dental visit since his last appointment on February 26th.  He memorized the date for his August appointment in February and whenever he was spontaneously quizzed throughout the past few months, he knew when Dentist Day was coming up.  Although Justin wasn't quite so outwardly enthusiastic (he didn't particularly care for their toothpaste flavor last time), he had a very positive attitude about going and I was so impressed with his maturity.

If you want to read a little about some of my early childhood experiences with the dentist as well as learning about our boys' first time meeting their new dentist around 6 months ago, please check out my February 26th blog, A Trip To The Pediatric Dentist with our 2 Boys on the Autism Spectrum.

I had prepared to create social stories just in case they might be needed but since their memory banks had registered such a positive experience back during their first visit in February, none of that was really needed.  It was such a pleasant and welcome surprise!

If there are any other parents out there reading who have children diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder, you know that just the smallest thing going wrong can trigger a major meltdown.  You probably also know the incredible joy and rejuvenation you feel inside when a day goes right!  We take these moments as they come, appreciate them, build on them and try to repeat them!)

Now if I could only find a way to bottle up that positive attitude and spray it on them (and myself) whenever they felt apprehensive about a potentially uncomfortable situation!  Come to think of it, couldn't we all use a special elixir like that?  Come to think of it again, wouldn't you like to spray that kind of stuff on others too?

I want to also give an incredible amount of credit to pediatric dentist, Dr. Pete Lubisich at Vancouver Pediatric Dentistry and his terrific staff for making Justin and Ryan feel so comfortable while at their office.  From the moment we walked in the door at their practice, we were treated with genuine kindness and warmth.  Our boys were treated like they were the most special, amazing patients in the world.  They both picked up on the good feelings. It was such a positive and uplifting experience for them.

The staff knew in advance that both our boys had special needs but as we watched many other children go in and out (they have multiple dentists on staff, 3 being Lubisich family dentists), we were impressed with how well everyone was treated.  In the 75 minutes or so we were there, we heard no crying from anyone and all kids came out with big smiles. (Too bad John and I can't go there!)

Dr. Pete is on the far left! What a caring, gentle and great man!

We met for about 10 minutes with Dr. Pete and went over the upcoming needs for our sons.  No cavities for either this go-around, although we have to be careful with Justin because the dentist thinks he may be cavity prone.  I think Ryan may have some of my "special spit" (I never have had a cavity).


It turns out that Justin has a late blooming mouth just like I did.  He will be 11 in early October and currently has 12 of his baby teeth.  He will eventually need braces but for now, it was recommended we wait a couple years until most of his baby teeth are gone.  It was also recommended that Justin soon have 3 teeth extracted and a space retainer put in due to some of his teeth growing in oddly.  Justin took this news very well.  I'm not sure if he has fully processed it yet but so far, so good.  I told him that I had 4 teeth extracted when I was about his age and since he and I are so close and relate on so many things, I think he feels safe about it so far. We've been gently trying to prepare him for upcoming teeth work for quite some time.   We don't need to decide immediately but since we've been paying out of pocket, we're going to look around and see if there is any reasonable dental insurance that can help cover some of the cost. If not, we'll make it work. We want our boys to have healthy smiles!  

I was thinking this evening about how many children out there on the autism spectrum (or even not on the spectrum) that actually look forward to going to the dentist?  Now our boys do and that is such a gift because learning good dental hygiene at a young age and having positive dental experiences to build on will certainly help as they grow older and become more responsible for self-care.  If you are in the Vancouver area and have kids or teenagers, I HIGHLY recommend Vancouver Pediatric Dentistry.

I'll admit, going to the dentist was not my favorite thing to do as a child.  Oh sure, there was the toy box to look forward to at the end but that was the primary highlight.  Lots of sensory issues for me with smells, tastes and textures sort of took away from the thrill of picking out a bouncy ball or rubbery superhero toy.  It also seemed to me that my orthodontist / dentist seemed to go through mood swings.  I remember him overall being a nice guy but I remember him being grumpy with a few and it scared the heck out of me.  Trust me, I was a very good little girl in his chair!  You don't want a grouchy person working in your mouth and I was astute enough back then to realize this!

As an aside, thank goodness the movie, "The Dentist" with Corbin Bernson hadn't been out back then. If you have anyone in your family just the slightest bit apprehensive about visiting the dentist, please do NOT let them see this horror movie. I still wish I had never seen it.  If you are a fan of Corbin, just watch him in "Psych" instead or go find some old "L.A. Law" reruns.

On a different topic, I had wanted to blog last night about the "Going Back To School" round-table event we attended in Vancouver that was sponsored by the Autism Society of Washington - Southwest Chapter.  As it turns out, we almost didn't make it there and I will tell that story when I share with you about the meeting.  I dislike arriving to a group support meeting or actually any type of appointment late because it is embarrassing and I don't wish to disrespect others but all worked out okay and I'm so glad we attended.  For parents, teachers, caregivers or those who have a relationship with children on the autism spectrum, I have some robust resources to share with you.  I will compile that and put it together in a blog in the next couple of days.

Tomorrow is a very busy day for us.  Ryan will be participating in an ongoing research study sponsored by the Oregon Health and Science University.  It will be 10 sessions over a period of time and tomorrow's 2 hour appointment is about getting to know him and us and to make sure he will be a fit for the study.  Last night I spent about 2 hours on the computer filling out an online questionnaire with Ryan's history.  It took me way back in the memory books to his birth, his first milestones, his first regression, his autism diagnosis and the building blocks of success he has been stacking and climbing over since that time.  I went back and read some of the emails I had sent to my parents in June of 2008 right after Ryan was officially diagnosed.  I went back to emails I was sending to them when I first noticed something was different.  It was an intensely emotional journey to relive and so I do apologize for not being in the right place to blog last night in case any of you stopped by and were hoping to read my writings.

Justin also has a big day tomorrow.  We attend his middle school orientation at Shahala from 1 - 4 and then again from 5 - 7.  We will get his schedule, meet his SCIP teachers (hopefully), get his locker combination (so we can practice it over the next few days) and help him start to feel comfortable, excited and positive about the opportunities he will be having as a 6th grader.  

Needless to say, I will be having quite a bit to share over the next few days PLUS I did not forget about the questions and topic requests that my Aspierations friends and blog visitors sent in!  I did answer everyone who emailed me and will continue to do so if you prefer a more private form of communication.  As always, you're always welcome to make comments on my blog as well.  Occasionally there will be some people who are trying to hurt my reputation that make comments. BOO!  I am not into censoring and I sincerely do welcome constructive criticism but if my children are disrespected or my family is disparaged, you'd better believe that once I find out, your messages will be deleted and if it continues, I will block your IP.   Take it to email if you must but please respect my Aspierations visitors who come here to visit and see what I share and as one kind and wise person who deserves a huge hug from me so kindly put, watch me find my way.  It certainly is a journey on a road less traveled.

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I do hope you'll visit again!  I will be doing my best to implement positive changes to my blog throughout the next few months and make this a place where you feel comfortable in visiting on a regular basis.  If I can ever provide a similar kind of uplifting positive experience for you as Dr. Pete did for our boys, then it will be a lovely reward indeed!  When we help others, we are also helping ourselves.

Until next time, my Aspierations friends,

1 comment:

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