Faculty / Staff Resources Student Resources
University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Sensory Adapted Dental Environments to Enhance Oral Care for Children (SADE-2)

Principal Investigator: Sharon Cermak
USC Chan Co-Investigators: Leah Stein Duker; Grace Baranek; Cheryl Vigen; John Sideris
External Co-Investigators: José Polido; Marian Williams; Michael Dawson; Joel Hay
Pre-Doctoral Trainee: Dominique Como

Project Period: 5/1/15 – 4/30/22
Funding Source: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
Award Number: 1 U01 DE024978-01
Anticipated Award: $3,246,693

Supplement: 3 U01 DE024978-04S2
Anticipated Award: $375,251

Diversity Supplement: 3 U01 DE024978-01S1
Anticipated Award: $161,077

The SADE-2 study is a randomized clinical trial of 184 ethnically diverse children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We are investigating the efficacy of a sensory adapted dental environment (SADE) compared to a regular dental environment (RDE) to decrease children’s physiological anxiety, distress behavior, perception of pain, and sensory discomfort during a dental cleaning. If successful, this intervention has the potential to revolutionize clinic-based dental care for the growing population of children with ASD. It is an innovative solution that will enable dentists to more readily perform standard clinic-based procedures for children with ASD.


The 3 U01 DE024978-04S2 supplement is for a study to examine the prevalence and patterns of sensory processing dysfunction in a population of children with Down syndrome and its relationship to oral care challenges, and to determine the feasibility of adapting the sensory adapted dental environment (SADE) protocol for children with Down syndrome.

Awarded through NIH’s Diversity in Research initiative, the 3U01DE024978-01S1 supplement will provide a research immersion opportunity in the development of a career trajectory as a research scientist. Ms. Como will receive training and gain experience in research methods, interdisciplinary collaboration, grantsmanship, and dissemination through presentations and publications.

For more information, visit the SADE-2 study site.