Autism and Neurodiversity in Dentistry

Free Self-Paced Online Program

This program is designed to assist Dentists, Dental Hygienists, Certified Dental Assistants, Dental Technicians, Denturists, Dental Therapists, Dental Office Staff and anyone interested in dentistry to learn practical and useful strategies on how to support autistic and neurodivergent clients of all ages in the dental setting. In fact, many of the strategies presented will help ALL clients have more successful dental visits.

This program includes a series of four self-paced, interactive modules filled with useful activities and videos and is available to anyone, anywhere for FREE!

What are the Module Topics?

There are four modules in the program. Module 1 is a prerequisite to modules 2 through 4. Modules 2 to 4 can be taken in any order; however, it is highly recommended that the learner take the modules in sequence.

  • Length: Approximately 70-85 minutes
  • Learning Objective:
    1. Understanding autism: Learn about the key features of autism and address common myths and stereotypes.
    2. Learn about the neurodiversity framework/movement.
    3. Learn about common oral health conditions observed in autistic and neurodivergent clients.

  • Length: Approximately 30-40 minutes
  • Learning Objective:
    1. Learn how to create a sensory adapted dental environment.
    2. Learn about scheduling, pre-assessment and familiarization strategies to set clients up for success.
    3. Learn how to share positive pre-visit imagery with your clients.

  • Length: Approximately 70-85 minutes
  • Learning Objective:
    1. Learn Strategies to Create an Inclusive and Welcoming Waiting Area.
    2. Learn Strategies to Support Effective Communication.
    3. Learn How to Use Visual Supports in the Dental Setting.
    4. Learn How to Use Systematic Desensitization in the Dental Setting.
    5. Understand the Issues Surrounding Protective Stabilization and Restraint.

  • Length: Approximately 25-30 minutes
  • Leaning Objective:
    1. Learn how to provide an individualized at-home oral hygiene plan based on a family-centered approach.
    2. Learn what at-home strategies and oral hygiene products to recommend.
    3. Learn about visual supports that can help with at-home oral care.

Each module also includes supplemental resources that have been vetted by CIRCA for quality assurance.

You can start and stop the modules at any time and the platform will remember where you left off. You will also have continued access to each module to use as an ongoing resource.


1. Who can take this program?

There are no restrictions as to who can register for the program. It is available for FREE to anyone interested in better understanding autism and neurodiversity in dentistry.

2. What is the time commitment?

The total time commitment for the program is approximately 4 hours, but the time commitment for each module will vary (see individual module listings, above).

3. Do the modules need to be taken consecutively and all together?

The modules can be taken separately and not consecutively if desired, but Module 1 is a prerequisite for the following modules. We highly recommend taking the entire series of modules in sequential order for the complete program and full package of knowledge, but it is not required.

4. Is there a deadline to register?

No, the program will be available on an ongoing basis so you can register at any time.

5. Trouble Registering? Where can I get help with the Canvas CPE registration process?

You may have received 2 emails from Canvas Catalog. Please follow the instructions in the email titled “Complete your Catalog registration”. Refer to this page for information on the registration process and troubleshooting tips.

6. Who do I contact if I need technical assistance or more information?

Modules are not monitored. Each module includes a resource and reference section that provides information on additional support and service agencies that may be able to assist.

7. What platform is used?

The program is hosted on UBC Canvas.

8. Is there a recognition of achievement?

Yes. A module completion badge is awarded for each module when you complete the module and submit the module survey. A program completion certificate is awarded when you complete modules 1 through 4 and the associated module surveys. You may use the certification of completion certificate to apply for continuing education credits.

9. How can I customize my module content viewing experience?

The content is optimized for viewing on a desktop computer using Google Chrome browser. While you would be able to access the content using a different browser or via your smartphone, you may experience difficulties reading the content & completing activities on a smaller device.