In Chile, dogs help kids with autism on their dentist visits

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In this April 28, 2017 photo, 9-year-old Diego Rosales, who has autism, interacts with therapy dog Perry before his dental appointment at the Los Andes University Medical Center on the outskirts of Santiago, Chile. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
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In this April 28, 2017 photo, 9-year-old Rayen Antinao gets a dental check-up as therapy dog Zucca helps keep her calm at the Los Andes University Medical Center, on the outskirts of Santiago, Chile.(AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Updated 08 May 2017

In Chile, dogs help kids with autism on their dentist visits

SANTIAGO, Chile: Diego Rosales was so terrified during his dental appointments when he was 4 that he kept biting his dentist.
Today, the 9-year-old is far calmer, soothed by the presence of “Zucca,” a black Labrador that helps children like him with autism face one of their worst fears.
A visit to the dentist can be daunting for any child, but it’s especially so for many with autism. They can be upset by the lights in their faces or frightened by the noises of the instruments. Some have to be sedated.
Therapy dogs have been used in many countries to calm autistic children and aid people with numerous other conditions. Raul Varela began the practice in Chile after noticing that his autistic child’s social interactions improved after spending time with the family’s black Labrador.
Varela quit his job and got certified by Spain-based Bocalan as a therapy dog trainer for children with autism.
He started a non-profit organization called Junto a Ti (“Next to You“) that specializes in visits to the dentist for autistic children. It uses six dogs, all female, because the organizers say they are more docile. And the dogs get specialized training.
“Zucca had already been trained to be around children with autism, but taking her to the dentist was different,” Varela said. “She needed to be able to resist the screaming, the noise from the drill and to stay still in the lap of the children, even when they pull their hair or their ears.”
So far, the dogs have aided about 50 children visiting a single university-run dental clinic on the southern edge of Chile’s capital. The clinic pays the equivalent of $67 for a session with a dog, though its charge for a child’s visit varies, depending on the family’s economic level.
On a recent day, Diego sat in the dentist’s chair with Zucca on his lap. There was no biting and no screaming this time. Instead, Diego continued to pet Zucca long after the dentist had plucked out one of his teeth, and he smiled when he got to take the tooth home inside a tiny box for the tooth fairy.


Baby Talk: Hearing test for your baby

The test measures how your baby responds to sound. (Shutterstock)
Updated 20 January 2020

Baby Talk: Hearing test for your baby

  • When hearing loss is found early, treatment can begin right away to prevent long-term problems
  • The test measures how your baby responds to sound

DUBAI: A major part of a baby’s development and learning is through hearing. If your baby has a hearing problem and it is not found, your baby will have a hard time learning words and how to talk. When hearing loss is found early, treatment can begin right away to prevent long-term problems.

Hearing Test

As a part of your baby’s care, a hearing test will be done. The test measures how your baby responds to sound. It takes about 10 minutes and can be done while he or she is sleeping.

A small probe is placed in or near the baby’s ear. It sends soft clicking sounds into the ear.

(Shutterstock)

Small pads may be put on your baby’s head. These measure how the baby’s brain responds to the sounds.

The Results

The results of the hearing test will be given to you and to your baby’s doctor. If your baby does have hearing loss, you will get more information about treatment and resources, and more tests will be done.

If you have any questions about having your baby’s hearing tested, talk to your baby’s doctor or nurse.

This article was first published on babyarabia.com