Special Olympics Special Smiles: Virtual Special Smiles Self-Assessment Program and Poll (VSSSAPP)
The Special Smiles discipline of Healthy Athletes provides comprehensive oral health care information, including offering free dental screenings and instructions on correct brushing and flossing techniques to participating Special Olympics athletes. COVID-19 forced Special Olympics to cancel its in-person Healthy Athletes Screening (HAS) program for an undetermined period of time. In response, the Virtual Special Smiles Self-Assessment Program and Poll (VSSSAPP) was created by modifying the Special Smiles “Training Manual for Standardized Oral Health Screening.”
The poll process was created to engage athletes and provide them with educational experiences that will also be fun for them. Special Smiles have the ability to collect data using the athletes’ responses. At the end of the program, participants are invited to have a personal Zoom meeting to answer questions the athlete may be embarrassed to ask in a group setting, and questions meant to alert program leaders to refer athletes if urgent dental care is necessary.
Author(s): Thendral Began, IDS ’23, Susanne Carpenter, DDS ’23
Mentor(s): Dr. Lynne Wong
Personalized Instructional Program Community Health Service and Health Promotion Award