Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are more likely to have vision problems than other people. If you have a child with autism, having annual appointments with an optometrist is a must. However, many children with autism have a difficult time getting medical exams because they don't like being touched and get frightened by the procedures. If you're taking your autistic child to the eye doctor for the first time, here are some tips to help him or her be as relaxed as possible.
Before you make an appoint at an eye doctor, call around to several in your area. The staff at one eye doctor may have never even met an autistic child, while the staff at another eye doctor's office might work with a couple on a regular basis. If anyone has experience with autism, it would be in your child's best interest to choose the doctor with the most experience.
Bring a Comfort Item
Your child is going to be out of his or her comfort zone, so bringing a comfort item will be very helpful. If you child has a special toy, stuffed animal, an electronic device, or anything else he or she tends to carry around on a regular basis, make sure it comes to the appointment.
Practice at Home
Practicing in the comfort of your own home might be the best way to prepare your autistic child for the eye exam. You can make an eye chart and try to set up a room to look as much like the office as possible. You can even make a game out of it to try and make it seem like fun. If your child has a favorite type of candy, you can give him or her a piece of candy every time a letter is called out from the chart. You can bring the candy to the appointment to have on hand if your child get nervous during the exam. With practice, your child might be more comfortable at the appointment.
If your child has to receive eye drops that will temporarily blur vision or receive a puff of air in the eye to check for glaucoma, you need to explain these things ahead of time. You don't want him or her to become frightened and panic. Make sure he or she knows that side effects are only temporary. If you think these things will be too much for your child to handle, ask the eye doctor to skip them at the exam.
For more information, contact Dr Ron Sealock or a similar medical professional.