Dental Stories

"Dental visits before PWP were a nightmare for Jamie and staff members. Jamie would have to be chemically restrained and then forced to stay still by physical restraint and then by papoose on the dental chair."


"PWP took time to erase 35 years of this horror for Jamie...Eventually, Jamie was able to sit in a dental chair and receive a short examination without restraints or sedation by the dentist, the first time he had ever successfully completed a dental examination without any type of sedation."

Michael Mahaffey,
Residental Program Manager
at an adult group home in Delaware

Ryan Cleary

"(PWP) gave him control over something in his life because so much of what he does everyday he doesn’t have a choice:  going to school, going to bed. He’s very proud when he comes out of the dentist, very proud.   He comes out and he just goes “All done!” and he has the biggest smile on his face.  (Practice Without Pressure) gave him tools and it gave us tools to get through some of these things like blood draws, hair cuts and the dental." 

Anne and Steve Cleary,
parents to Ryan Cleary, age 15

On dental x-rays and cleaning:  “Just four visits to Practice Without Pressure made all the difference.”

Marcy Kempner,
Parent of Ethan, age 15, who has autism,
and helped by PWP at age eight



"Prior to PWP, my 19-year-old daughter Lizzy was never able to see it through dental visits. She has a high gag reflex and neck instability, so it was difficult for her to receive dental care. She wound up with a lot of dental issues that required more than five hours of dental surgery to address. After the surgery, Liz was still having trouble with x-rays in her mouth. But one meeting with PWP changed that outcome. (At her next dental visit), Liz completed her dental x-rays without gagging and even held the x-rays in place herself to secure them...It made all the difference for Liz."

Beth MacDonald
parent of Lizzy MacDonald, age 19


Ben needed x-rays as at 18, he was aging out of the A I duPont dental clinic.  We had always held him down for all his dental work.  When I met Deb for Practice Without Pressure, I told her not to be upset if it didn't work out because Ben is a real challenge.  He has severe autism and at times, can hit people unexpectedly.  But he amazed me with his ability to watch Deb and practice the steps needed to complete an x-ray.  

When we went to the appointment, he became tense until I showed him the cards and reminded him that it was just like our practice.  He immediately relaxed.  But the bite-wings were making him gag so we decided to try a panoramic, which he hadn't practiced at all.  But he did great.  He remained calm and cooperative throughout the process.  Practice made all the difference for him and for me.  Now that I have applied PWP methods to other areas of his life, Ben has really blossomed in a much more independent and happy person.

Ben Bashkow

Karen Bashkow
Autism Delaware Board Member
parent to Ben Bashkow, age 21

Woman's Health Stories

Pam Slate

"I had a wonderful experience. It helped me know how to act and react and relax to benefit my resident. It gave Pamela more knowledge about what to expect and things she can do to feel safe and be supported in a women's health exam."

Melissa Lynch, residential program supervisor,
Salvation Army, Sussex County, DE

Dian Prettymen

Dian Prettyman:
"I learned how to do the breast exam, check for lumps for cancer.  I loved my course at PWP."

Gloria Prettyman:
"I strongly endorse PWP and I think every young lady will certainly benefit from PWP."

Pat Prettyman:
"It was a wonderful experience…The teaching tools that were used in the course were excellent. They had cards to show and explain each of the stations. They had (mannequin) models and the examination table with stirrups and the drape cloth. Students all got a chance to find the lump in the breast model and they learned how to do breast self-exams on themselves. There were videos. It was hands-on, which was much better for these kids than sitting in a lecture hall and having somebody put a slide up. They could get right into it and do it themselves.”

Pat and Gloria Prettyman,
grandmothers to
Dian Prettyman

Phlebotomy Stories

"By the time Angelina was 10, she was held down to where her blood vessels would pop in her eyes and face from the struggle to have her blood drawn. This was also true for dental cleanings, x-rays and MRIs..."

Angelina Bufano

"After six sessions with PWP, Angelina successfully completed a blood draw for the first time without being held down. Now, she independently goes to the phlebotomy station and has her blood drawn without any support. Now she says, "I not afraid of nothing."

Sandra Bufano
parent of
Angelina Bufano

Nick Bufano

"My five-year-old son Nick needed some blood work done for the first time as part of a routine checkup. My daughter Angelina did so well working with PWP for blood work that I decided to have Nick practice. After working with PWP for three sessions, Nick was able to go to Lab Corp and get his blood drawn without it being a scary experience."

Sandra Bufano
parent of
Nick Bufano


"The reason we started coming to PWP was because we had taken Artie to other facilities and they were trying to hold him down in the chair.  It didn’t work because he was afraid and he didn’t understand what they were going to do.  We never had the blood work done because it was too traumatic for him that way."

"When we learned about PWP, we went through three practice sessions with Artie and on the fourth practice, Artie actually had the blood work done.  We gave him reinforcers to get him to sit still and follow instructions to get the blood drawn. We have continued to come to Practice Without Pressure because he’s successful with them. "

Beth Young
Parent of Artie Young, age  22
Non-verbal with autism


"We should never give up hope.  These kids are amazing and sometimes when you think this is something they can’t do, maybe they can. Thanks Practice Without Pressure for what they have done for my son, Scott.  It’s really nothing short of a miracle that Scott’s able to have blood drawn without being restrained by two or three people or being pre-medicated.  It’s something I thought he would never be able to do, and I’m grateful for the patience and understanding that Practice Without Pressure has exhibited with my son and I’m very, very thankful."

Susan Humphreys,
son Scott, 35 years old
with cognitive challenges,
autism and pica 

Personal Care Stories

Haircut Stories

"I feel that in this society where everybody’s time is so limited, when you go to the hairdressers, they don’t take the time to understand your child who has challenges..."

Johnny Scott

"But when we met Deb and Karen at Practice Without Pressure, they understood, without us even having to explain, why it was so hard for Johnny to get his hair cut. With PWP, it was like Johnny was with family. They really cared, where other people didn't, and helped us through a difficult time."

Susan Scott
Johnny, age 4
Garnet Valley, PA

"John had to be held down for haircuts from the age of two. We tried a couple of times at the barber, but not too often. It was not pretty...

John Campbell

"After about 18 sessions with PWP, John let their hair stylist, Patty McMinn, cut his hair. It took awhile with breaks and reinforcers, but he completed his first haircut in one session without being held down or restrained in any way.

"For Philip and I, there are no words to express the emotions involved in this accomplishment and the hope that it brings. For John, it is life changing. Now, I cut his hair with no problems while he sits in front of the computer. When the PWP Center opens, I will take him there."

Irene and Philip Campbell
Wilmington, DE
John, age 9, moderate autism,
profound global delay

Nail Care

"Our son David was born blind and retarded. From infancy, David distrusted everyone and would fight grooming and medical procedures..."

David Birney

"...After just a few sessions (with PWP), David (age 35), began to cooperate by letting us touch, soak and file his nails."

George & Virginia Birney

Surgery Preparation

Practice Without Pressure helps people perform under pressure. It made a real difference for (our son) Jon and for us."

Hank Stoklosa on his son's
pre-surgery preparation with PWP