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Hearing impaired students get free dental care

Hearing impaired students get free dental care

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Friday, December 04, 2015

BY JAVENE SKYERS Observer staff reporter skyersj@jamaicaobserver.com

TRWENTY-FIVE students at the Lister Mair/Gilby High School for the Deaf received an early Christmas gift in the form of free dental care and a treat following a visit from dentist Christopher Ogunsalu and his team on Tuesday.

According to Ogunsalu, who is the regent for the International College of Dentists for the English-speaking Caribbean, the institute annually tries to provide services for the public and decided to focus on people with disabilities this year.

“The choice of the school was coincidental in that we actually met Carol Williams, who teaches at the school, to discuss it with her, and she said the teachers would love to come and use their health cards… but we [told them] we just wanted to treat the deaf students for free,” the dentist said of the initiative.

Williams, who teaches Social Studies at the Papine, St Andrew-based school, said she was quite surprised at the offer as it was rare for someone to show such interest in the type of work she does with the deaf, much less to make an offer to help.

“I thought it would have been far-fetched because his practice is really in Montego Bay, however, he has dedicated himself to serve the deaf community in this way and I spoke to my principal and she thought it was a good idea and we just put the plans in place and here we are today,” Williams told the Observer Tuesday.

She added that Ogunsalu’s visit falls within the week when special focus is being placed on persons with disabilities with yesterday being observed as International Day of People with Disabilities.

“I just think it’s a great opportunity to give back to the deaf community. When I spoke to some of the students about having the dentist coming in, they were quite excited. When I did my own personal survey of the students and their visits to the dentist, a number of them said they could not remember going to the dentist while others remembered going when they were in primary school, so the need is among the the students,” Williams, who formerly served as guidance counsellor at the school, explained.

“I just think it’s a great opportunity to give back to the deaf community. When I spoke to some of the students about having the dentist coming in, they were quite excited. When I did my own personal survey of the students and their visits to the dentist, a number of them said they could not remember going to the dentist while others remembered going when they were in primary school, so the need is among the the students,” Williams, who formerly served as guidance counsellor at the school, explained.

Ogunsalu and his team, which consisted of dental assistant Kadeisha Williams and the institution’s General Manager Collette Clarke, travelled from Montego Bay and by 8:30 am had begun registratering the students.

He said the initiative was not only about making the students feel special, but to also try to assess if there dental problems that are specific to members of the deaf community.

“This is also going to assist us to be able to formulate ways in which we can treat our special need patients. I have been practicing as qualified dentist from 1987, and before that I trained for six years as a dentist. I had never treated a deaf patient until today, so today is a special day for me also,” Ogunsalu shared.

One of the challenges the dental practitioner said he anticipated was that of collecting a detailed dental history of the patients and, as a result, had his staff working from early with one of the teachers on hand to ensure efficiency. He explained that the team was only conducting dental treatments for 25 students as it would take some time to be able to communicate and treat the patients accordingly — estimating a turnaround time of 20 – 25 minutes per student.

“We are prepared to do dental cleaning, simple extractions, surgical extractions, even dental implants, dentures and so forth. So, that is why we say we are doing a comprehensive dental treatment because if you are going to go and do something for people, it makes sense to go all the way,” Ogunsalu stated as he prepared to see his first patient.

Another challenge the dentist said he was anticipating was the reaction and acceptance of treatment by the hearing-impaired students, citing that his “usual” patients are sometimes “difficult” when being treated.Ogunsalu said all the patients would be treated to a specially-catered lunch following their dental examinations.

“We are going to decide whether we’ll be able to adopt the school, and do this two or three times a year as a continuum or move to another school for the deaf. But one thing I learnt today is that the population of this school is about 102 students. So if we are treating 25, we would have treated 25 per cent of the student population and that also inspired me to say I want to try and come back next week so that I’m able to say we treated 50 per cent,” he stated.

Original Article Found Here

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Charles Hyatt Being positive is a lifestyle and I live everyday loving the fact that I'm living every day. Each time I help someone smile, it reiterates the power of Good. So, I think, talk, eat, drink, Good News.

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