Student Guide

The Preservice Health Training Project, which you are about to begin, has been designed around two main goals:

  • First, to impart substantive knowledge to you regarding developmental disabilities, common characteristics and secondary conditions of persons with developmental disabilities and at risk conditions, and ways in which to most professionally treat such individuals in the operatory setting.
  • Second, and perhaps more importantly, to allow you to become familiar with interacting with persons with developmental disabilities in a simulated, though realistic, format.

In viewing these modules, you will consider issues of care for persons with significant disabilities and those at risk for disabilities, including basic methods of communication. You will need to make choices in how you would modify your standard office protocol in order to accommodate their needs. You also will hear a first hand account of what families and individuals find most beneficial and most troubling during their interactions with dentists.

There are several parts to these modules. You will begin by reading background material on developmental disabilities. This includes both general material about all developmental disabilities, as well as more specific material regarding the cases that you will view in greater depth. You will then view the module(s) which you have been assigned; these modules contain a series of video clips separated by decision and information points, to which you must respond. Your course instructor may then engage you in classroom discussion about the issues raised in the modules and assign additional activities for you to complete. You also may complete a pre and post test on one or both of the modules. As a final component to these modules, you may be asked to complete a Situational Scale on your perceived comfort and confidence level in caring for patients with developmental disabilities and at-risk conditions, both before and after you complete these modules.