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Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Pediatric Dentistry

First Advisor

Dr. Frank H. Farrington D.D.S.


DEVELOPMENT OF A DENTAL ACCESS SURVEY INSTRUMENT FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERSBy Roy H. Rogers, B.A., B.S., D.D.S.A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science at Virginia Commonwealth University.Virginia Commonwealth University, June 2003Thesis Director: Frank H. Farrington, D.D.S., M.S.Department of Pediatric DentistryPurpose: The purpose of this study was to develop a survey instrument or questionnaire to evaluate access to dental care for children with autism spectrum disorders.Methods: The research methods of this study were conducted in a 16-step process. Survey questions were evaluated based on analysis of response frequencies and item non-response (missing data), the content of open-ended responses on the questionnaire, the researcher's judgment regarding how well the question worked within the questionnaire design construct, redundancy across questions, and whether or not the question met the project's proposed analytical goal (purpose): to evaluate access to dental care for children with autism spectrum disorders. Judgment-based evaluation of each question was tabulated using Excel spreadsheet format.Results: The overall response rate for the pilot test mailing was 46.8% (22/47). The overall sample size was reduced from n=50 to n=47 due to one undeliverable survey instrument/questionnaire and two survey instrument/questionnaires returned because neither respondent had any children with autism spectrum disorders. The mean age of children sampled was 7.1 years with a standard deviation of 3.6 years. 68.2% (15/22) of the children were male and 31. 8% (7/22) were female. 22.7% (5/22) found it difficult to locate a dentist to treat their child. 54.5% (12/22) of children were treated by a pediatric dentist. 52.9% (9/17) required the use of restraints when being treated by a dentist. 52.4% (11/22) described their child's behavior as uncooperative requiring either nitrous oxide, oral sedatives, or general anesthesia in order to be treated. 81.8% (18/22) of respondents indicated that their child had some form of dental/medical health care coverage including but not limited to private health insurance. Survey questions 9, 10, 14, 15, 20, 25, and 51 were revised, questions 2, 4, 5, 28, and 38 were omitted, and one question was added (question number 4) in the final survey instrument.


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VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008