Is Visual Pedagogy Effective in Improving Cooperation Towards Oral Hygiene and Dental Care in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Araxi Balian, Silvia Cirio, Claudia Salerno, Thomas Gerhard Wolf, Guglielmo Campus, Maria Grazia Cagetti
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2021 January 18, 18 (2)
Visual pedagogy has emerged as a new approach in improving dental care in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). This paper aimed to evaluate and assess the scientific evidence on the use of visual pedagogy in improving oral hygiene skills and cooperation during dental care in children with ASDs. The review protocol was registered on the PROSPERO Register (CRD42020183030). Prospective clinical studies, randomized trials, interruptive case series, before and after comparison studies, and cross-sectional studies following the PRISMA guideline were searched in PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and Google Scholar using ad hoc prepared search strings. The search identified 379 papers, of which 342 were excluded after title and abstract evaluation, and 37 full-text papers were analyzed. An additional four papers were added after consulting reference lists. Eighteen papers were disregarded; 23 were finally included, and their potential bias was assessed using ROB-2 and ROBINS-I tools. The wide heterogenicity of the studies included does not allow for conclusive evidence on the effectiveness of visual pedagogy in oral hygiene skills and dental care. Nevertheless, a significant and unilateral tendency of the overall outcomes was found, suggesting that visual pedagogy supports ASD children in improving both oral hygiene skills and cooperation during dental care.

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