Making a difference for children on the autism spectrum

Patient and family centered care in action

The Safety & Security team at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital created "Coping Kits" to help children with autism better cope with their hospital experience.

“Coping Kits” help children with autism adjust to the sensory experience of being at the hospital.

A visit to the doctor can cause anxiety for any child, but for a child on the autism spectrum, it can be especially challenging.

Sometimes a child’s anxiety can build to a point where it becomes problematic for the care team to do their jobs. Those of us in the security team at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital started to see this happening more and more frequently. We’d get phone calls from clinicians asking for help with a developmentally delayed patient. We quickly realized that the way we might typically approach a patient was not effective in working with children on the autism spectrum.

We heard time and time again that some of these children had been denied care at other facilities because their behavior – which of course stemmed from the anxiety the environment around them triggered – made it too challenging for the clinicians to deliver care. We wanted to see how we could help ease their anxiety and make the experience more positive for everyone, so we started researching autism and ways to better respond.

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