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  • Writer's pictureHannah's Hope

Doctor Visits.

Sara Connolly, a Board Certified Pediatrician, wrote for Bundoo, a Doctor led website for parents, an article titled, "Visiting the pediatrician with your autistic child. " This article highlights the stressors and challenges that come with taking your child to the doctor when they have Autism Spectrum Disorder. She said, "Children with ASD are often uncomfortable with unfamiliar places and people and have a hard time adjusting to the unexpected, making medical offices very frightening." This typically means that the child will become upset, often physically resisting the experience and the parent or caregiver can leave the visit feeling sad, frustrated, or embarrassed. The good news is that there are some offices across the country who are currently working to make their offices more inviting and friendly to children with ASD. Steps to do this include: scheduling these children's visits at a time when the office is quiet, having a separate waiting space for these children, or an exam room that is specifically designed for sensory needs. Medical staff in these offices can also be trained to respond more appropriately to the needs of children with ASD. Doctors and their staff can allow more time for transitions during these visits and explain at each change what is about to happen using visual cue curds while speaking in a calm, soft, relaxed voice to make the experience better for them, the parents, and the children. Parents and caregivers of children with ASD can help by offering storyboards to the children before the visit. By doing this, the children will become more comfortable with the setting of the office, the doctor, other physicians, and the environment of the office before even arriving for the appointment. Bringing along the child's favorite comfort item to the visit can also be useful. It can also be helpful to check out the office before going to the visit to look for any triggers, like loud music or television, that may disrupt the child's calm mindset entering the visit. Lastly, Connolly made the point that giving ample time for the appointment is key. She said, "Children with ASD need time to process new spaces and new people, so arriving a bit early and making sure you don't have to rush off to another appointment can help a child who is upset, have time to settle." No one particularly likes going to the doctor, some grown adults even hate it with a passion. However, children with ASD may need a little extra assistance during these experiences, so doing the things listed in this article from Connolly, will not only make everyone's experience at the appointment better, but will improve future visits as well.'

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