John hated going to the doctor, it just wasn't a pleasant experience for him or anyone that went with him. John's mom said that usually both of them would leave the doctor's office crying, it was just a horrible experience. That changed.
Here's what they changed at their doctor's office.
- First, John's doctor sent him a story which included pictures of the doctor's office and a play by play story of what would be happening. It also included pictures of the nurses and the doctor that he would be visiting. John's mom read this story with him several times before his visit to the doctor.
- Next, John's mom was allowed to check in as they were driving to the doctor's office.
- Since they already checked in, when they arrived to the doctor's office, there was no waiting. They immediately took John back.
- Prior to the visit, John's mom filled out a questionnaire that included what John's high interest was. John's favorite toys were Toy Story toys.
- The nurses used Buzz and Woody to help John with transitions.
- John used to get very upset when he had to be weighed, but this time the nurse showed John how Woody was going to be weighed first. She narrated what was going on, so when it was John's turn, he was excited to get weighed and did it without a problem.
- Once John got to the room he was assigned to, there was no waiting!
- John's nurses and doctor basically used PLAY to make John feel comfortable, and to help him to follow directions. John's mom said it was amazing.
- The best part was that both John and his mom were able to leave the doctor's office without a tear :)
I was so impressed with this doctor, and I wish that more people could implement some of these simple techniques in order to help more children have successful experiences out in the community.
Utah PLAY Project Home Consultant
Early Intervention Services for Children with Autism