From left, project volunteer Leanne Mondin, project lead Nicki Goodwin and project officer Meredith Townsend.

BCH TO LAUNCH PILOT PROJECT

May 9, 2019 BY

Bellarine Community Health is set to launch what’s believed to be the first pilot project of its kind in Victoria.

The project will provide a personalised dental service for people with a formal diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Going to the dentist can be difficult for people with ASD. The Project will develop a personalised program for patients
to support communication, sensory and behavioural needs in the dental clinic. The project team is working with the community to improve services for patients with autism, as well as providing autism training for the dental team at BCH Point Lonsdale.

An initial phone appointment will be made to prepare for the dental visit. This is to identify the resources which will help, such as visual/social stories, aides and sensory equipment using autismfriendly IT devices.

“Dental care is such an essential service, but it can be very challenging to access for many people, particularly those with autism,” says BCH Project Lead and qualified Speech Pathologist, Nicki Goodwin.

The service will be available to anyone with a formal ASD diagnosis. The ASD pilot project will run from Bellarine Community Health’s Dental Clinic at Point Lonsdale and is being developed by BCH in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services.

Anyone wishing to make an appointment can call 5258 0828 to register their interest for the upcoming service. The new ASD pilot service will start in July and run until December 2019. BCH is also inviting families/carers with ‘lived experience of autism’ to complete an online 10-minute survey – this survey will help the project team to design the best possible ASD dental service, and can be found at surveymonkey.com/r/asddentalexperiences. If you would like to join a special online community forum for more information about the ASD Dental service visit bch.org.au/communities and create an account through the sign in button.