How to Manage Patients with Autism

Everyday doctors and nurses may face with different kind of people with different background. Not only different lives background, but you may also encounter patients with different health history. One of the examples is dealing with autism patient which may be one of the so many challenging medical jobs. If you have to manage patients with autism, you can read several information bellows:

Step one: Understand the Child

Prepare time for discussing about children’s condition. You can ask about child’s physical, emotional and mental abilities within minutes to their parents. Several questions that will be good to be asked before the medical visits are such as follows:

  • Is the child verbal or non-verbal?
  • Does the child follow simple commands?
  • Does the child make eye contact?
  • Respond to his/her name?
  • How does the child behave or respond to touch?

Step two: Plan for the Health Care Visit

Do not put any unnecessary items from the examining or treatment area. You may need extra staff, if you know the child is aggressive. It’s important to make sure that the additional members are fully aware about the child’s condition.

Step three: Implement Behavioral Strategies

Due to patient’s special needs, you may need range of behavioral strategies to cope with this patient. You can choose another strategy if your first attempt fails.

  • Imitation plus reward
    If you need to listen to a child’s heart, for example, demonstrate on a doll with a stethoscope, and then allow the child to imitate you. Reinforce the child with praise or a predetermined reward, such as a favorite toy.
  • Token system
    Before a medical procedure begins, have the child select a desired reward. Give the child a token at certain points during the procedure, with the understanding that he/she must gather a set number of tokens to get the reward.
  • Choices
    Children who are allowed to make choices often curtail or stop negative behaviors. The offered choices must be within the context of the procedure. For example, ask the child which arm to use for a blood sample.
  • Distraction
    This strategy is often the most effective. Souders advises nurses to “give the child a good time. Get into a playful mode.” Try singing songs, reciting the alphabet, playing with toys or blowing bubbles during the patient’s visit.

Step four: Look for Physical Abnormalities

If a child is diagnosed for having autism, you may need to look for other illness that may occur because of autism behavior. The most often case are gastrointestinal disorders and nutritional imbalances. Remember to always great patience and understanding when you have to deal with this kind of children.


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