Doctor Visit Tips for Children with Autism

Taking your child to the doctor for a checkup can be an ordeal, especially if your child has related sensory sensitivities. The setting, noises, number of people, and other things can lead to many different sensory issues.

Like last week’s blog on visiting the dentist, this week we wanted to focus on making trips to the doctor easier.

Finding an Autism-Friendly Pediatrician

There aren’t many comprehensive autism-friendly doctor or pediatrician lists available on the internet. This doesn’t mean you’re out of luck when it comes to searching for a great doctor, however. 

Many medical professionals list autism-friendly on their websites. This makes using search engines to find them very easy. Use search terms like ‘autism pediatrician near me’ or ‘autism-friendly pediatrician’ to start your search.

It is also imperative to call the office with questions ready before scheduling an appointment. Things to talk about before scheduling an appointment should include:

  • Anything regarding existing behavioral or developmental conditions and how they may affect the visit or appointment
  • Any sensory sensitivities with light, noise, crowds, or other situational concerns
  • Communication difficulties with your child (noises, nonverbal, etc)
  • Any common triggers that may be found in a new setting
  • If a special waiting area is available for children with sensory sensitivities or autism
  • If your child has certain difficulties with waiting or new places you may want to ask about scheduling a specific appointment where you don’t have to wait. Be sure to tell the scheduler about concerns regarding waiting times.

Make sure to have a list ready so you don’t forget anything during the phone call.

Preparing for a Visit to the Doctor

As it can be for other activities and appointments, a visit to the doctor can potentially throw children with autism off their routine. Making sure your child has easied into a schedule where an appointment may fit in is a great first step to take.

Be sure to bring any toys or objects that will make your child feel comfortable during the visit. Remember–the waiting period can be just as difficult as the appointment, especially if the doctor is delayed.

Visiting the office before an appointment can also be very helpful to acclimate your child to a new environment. If you have concerns about the new environment, be sure to call the office and see if you can make a few short trips there before the appointment.

A few things to be sure to have on hand for a doctor’s appointment include:

  • Any important toys or objects
  • Snacks or drinks
  • Prefilled paperwork (if any is given before the appointment)
  • A plan to deal with any large outbursts or behavioral issues

Be sure to talk to your child’s therapist if you have any concerns before an appointment. They know your child well and should have some great information that may help.

ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants

If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans to use ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you!