Autism Doctor Visits

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Autism and doctor visits. Sometimes they go well, and sometimes they are full of anxiety and so stressful for all. A new article (referencing my work) in the Journal of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America was published this month!

A couple of months ago, I shared that I was contacted by Dr. David Frumberg from Yale about referencing my work in an article he was writing. I was very excited to see what he was working on which included using social stories for doctor visits.

Well, he included pictures of the social stories I wrote about “visiting the doctor” for autistic children for other doctors to see and learn from. How cool is that?!

I was impressed with many of the things he addressed in the journal article because these things are often lacking in the medical realm (when it comes to treating autistic children).

Specifically, he discussed the following:

* person first language vs. identity-first language… (autistic adults are letting us know that they preferred to be referred to as autistic vs. “with autism”)
* taking the time to make a phone call to parents/caregivers prior to the appointment to talk about how they can work together to proactively plan for the appointment (and make it more successful)
* suggesting the child is first on the schedule for the day to reduce time in the waiting room (that’s huge!!)
* prior to surgery having the child in a quiet room vs. a traditional holding room (what a great idea!)
* having the parents model use of instruments and the mask for sedation
* taking out IV (if possible) and giving any additional meds in the OR while the child is still sedated
* emphasizing patience and allowing for sensory breaks or time on a digital device to reduce anxiety

This is huge progress, as I’m sure many of you who are parents of autistic children can testify to. Medical appointments can be SO difficult.

Here’s the link to the article if you want to read or share it.

You can find the Going To The Doctor Story here.

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  1. Hi Tara!! I just found this site today and I’m so excited!!! I am a school nurse in NYC for 75 K-5 kids with autism and i love it!!! I was wondering if you could help me, I wanted to create visual symbols for “Visiting the school nurse” I want the kids to know that it is not like going to a doctor because i have some students who have Doctor anxiety and i don’t want to add to it! I purposely dress with cute “school nurse” tee shirts and i see the kids in their classrooms everyday so they are comfortable with me and then feel “better” when they see me in my office which i have set up like a classroom. Any other suggestion? you are a wealth of info!!!!!