Autism - 5 Tips for Trips to the ER

Nobody wants to plan for an emergency, because we would prefer they would never happen. However, reality dictates that emergencies do arise. And just as you plan for the trips to the grocery store with your child when they have autism, so it is wise to know how to handle a trip to the ER.

The ER can overwhelm a child with autism. Think about it: bright lights, loud noises, a lot of people in misery, doctors with strange uniforms, and then there is the waiting. Whatever necessitated the trip to the ER may seem to pale in comparison to how your child reacts during the waiting.

Here are some helpful hints of things to ponder before you make the trip. Do you have any other suggestions to add? Please share in the comments below!

Autism - 5 Tips for Trips to the ER or Urgent Care

  1. Bright Lights - How does your child react to bright lights? What can you do to ease the situation? Does your child like to wear sunglasses? 
  2. Loud Noises - Does your child have sensitive ears? What can you do to ease the noises? You can request a quiet waiting area and exam room, but if they cannot accommodate your request, then what? Some children like to wear protective headphones, while some do better with an iPod and some noise-canceling ear buds. 
  3. Distraction - What small item can you take along, which will keep your child occupied? Perhaps a toy, book, or handheld game? 
  4. Inform - Explain to ER check-in that your child has autism and you need a quiet waiting area and quiet exam room if possible and also that you want only one nurse or doctor to tend to your child to keep them from being overstimulated and having a meltdown. 
  5. Clarify - Let the doctor know that your child either cannot communicate at all or does better with the type of questions that can be answered "yes or no." 

And of course, always be ready with a list of any medications your child currently is taking and any known allergies. I hope this helps ease your trip. Be sure to share this with your friends.


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