An Autism Diary

A day in the life of David Hartley

A True Gem for the Special Needs Community

Today my two boys had their 6 month cleaning/dental check up at Dr. Healy’s office.  I highly recommend this dentist if you live in or around Wichita.  It has been a major blessing for our family that we found him.  He honestly works well with special needs children and has the patience, compassion, and quick creative thinking needed to be successful with them too.  His offices are set up to be kid friendly and inviting too and all his staff are gentle, compassionate, and work well with the kids also which is a big plus. 🙂

We first met Dr. Healy by chance when I was attempting to get David into a dentist again when he was a few years younger.  We hadn’t had a successful run yet, but I was told this new guy had been around a while and had experience with special needs kids.  Well, when we got to the office, it turned out that particular dentist wasn’t there that day (can’t remember why) so a new dentist took his place for our appointment.  Dr. Healy grabbed my attention and gained two new patients the very first visit.  David was extremely scared and fought everyone hard.  He got wild and was hitting, screaming, and biting out of pure fear within a matter of seconds.  David is one that once he has a bad experience (past dentists) he can’t just let it go and he can’t differentiate the past from the present.   Dr. Healy stayed calm, kind, and compassionate the whole time though and that really impressed me.  He even helped calm and comfort David afterwards to help build trust.

Dr. Healy now has his own practice and his own building and the place is as amazing as he is. 🙂  Like I said earlier, it’s designed with kids in mind and is very friendly and inviting.  The staff is all trained well and very patient and gentle with the kids.  It can easily be seen that the designers of the place took every detail into consideration with the kids in mind.  From the fun-loving under-the-sea design of the waiting room, the t.v. nook set to kid friendly shows, and the “boat” with the video games center all the way to when the children have to sit down in that all to often intimidating “dentist chair”.  The room with the chairs has a giant window on the wall that the kids face that provides an open and peaceful view to aid in the room not feeling so closed-in and to help aid in relaxation.  And if that wasn’t cool enough, they also have personal video players that hover over each chair where they put on a special movie for each kid to watch while they get their teeth cleaned, checked, and/or worked on.  Today, David got to watch Toy Story and Joshua was treated to Cars. 🙂

The best part about Dr. Healy and his team though is that they truly have a heart for the kids they see.  Dr. Healy and his assistants have patiently and tirelessly embraced the high anxieties and wild outbursts my kids have dished out over the last few years and have worked side-by-side with me to help earn their trust and calm their fears.  Today, we got to see a beautiful show of success from it all too.  Although David was still frightened and had to be braced and held down again (they let me get in the chair with him to brace him) he was less violent today than he has been in the past which is a good indicator that although he was frightened, it was at a lesser level than in the past.  He’s getting used to them and they are starting to earn his trust. 🙂  Also, as always, the assistants and Dr. Healy took the time afterwards to be a part of helping David calm down and know he was safe.  I truly appreciate that. : )

Joshua showed the biggest progress though.  This is the child with the extreme anxiety issues and known for the extra violent outbursts when frightened.  Don’t be fooled by his small size and sweet smile, when he becomes frightened he can be a true force to recon with.  It was so bad the first couple of times Dr. Healy saw him that we had to give up on in-office check ups.  And the second time, we had to go as far as putting him under to finish the check up because cavities were found in between him biting me and the dentist and we knew the only way to help him without traumatizing him was to put him under.

Today though, all the hard work, creative thinking, and compassionate handling over the years has paid off.  Joshua not only remained calm, he also didn’t need to be braced and he smiled and cooperated throughout the entire cleaning and even the check-up!  Today showed that Dr. Healy and his staff have officially earned Joshua’s highest trust in-spite of all his anxieties and that’s definitely something to be celebrated. 😀

Thank-you Dr. Healy and staff for your true dedication and caring hearts.  We are just one of many families that you have made a real difference for! 🙂



  1. We have a great dentist that we LOVE too and it is so wonderful after some that were not so great! They have taken kicks and still treat him kindly and always with a smile. 🙂

    • So glad to hear that. 🙂 If you would like to give them a shout out, feel free to do so here. : )

      Patience, kindness, compassion, and understanding are so valuable and needed. Especially for patients like our kids and loved ones. : )

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