Preparing for Doctor Visits!

January 6, 2015

Doctor visits for anyone can be annoying and be a cause of high anxiety.  There are many things that can make the visit difficult: from the lengthy wait in the office, to the annoyance of being poked and prodded and then, of course, there is the fear of the dreaded “shot”!  Multiply these fears by one hundred for children with autism or those on the spectrum.  Here are some of our suggestions of how to make a doctor’s visit just a little less stressful.

  • Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!  Well in advance discuss and try a mock doctor’s visit.  Include a rehearsal of medical procedures with toys such as a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff and nose and ear magnifiers.
  • Get all paperwork done – Prepare yourself with your co-pay and paperwork done in advance so your attention is not taken by the work at the front desk.  Bring a prepared list of questions so the visit will go quickly.
  • Schedule appropriately.  Plan to book the first appointment of the day or possibly the first appointment after lunch so that your child will have a shirt wait time.  If there is a wait, find a quiet room or corner to keep your child calm and distracted.
  • Bring the familiar.  Bring a lovey or something that will bring your child comfort.  Anything that makes your child feel more at ease including headphones or a video game can help.
  • Bring visual supports.  Any way to help your child understand what will happen next will cut down on the anxiety level.  No one likes the stress of anticipating the unknown.
  • Rewards!  Having something positive to look forward to may help your child deal with his/her fears.