Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Mark D. Litt, Bina Katechia, Mina Mina

Field of Study

Dental Science


Master of Dental Science

Open Access

Open Access


Aims: To investigate barriers to dental care for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) from dentists’ and caregivers’ perspective.

Methods: This paper documents two cross sectional surveys of barriers to treating children with ASD. 109 general dentists were surveyed at a national conference in study 1, of whom about 74% reported treating children with ASD. In study 2, 83 caregivers were surveyed in hospital clinics, 46 of whom had a child with ASD, and 37 had children without ASD, and acted as a control group. Results: The most commonly endorsed barriers perceived by general dentists were: lack of guidelines for care, lack of sufficient reimbursement for management of ASD children, and difficulty in managing the behavior of ASD children. The most prevalent barriers reported by the caregivers of ASD children were: difficulty finding a dentist who would treat their child, and the uncooperative behavior of their own child. Conclusions: Children with ASD face a number of barriers to dental care. Central to the concerns of both caregivers and dental providers is the sense that general dentists, who will be assuming more of the treatment for these children, should be better trained to manage the behavioral challenges of children with ASD.

Major Advisor

Mark D. Litt