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Children wind up in the urgent care center when they’re not at their best—sickly, often cranky, and not necessarily in the most compliant frame of mind. And that’s “typical” kids. The challenges can increase exponentially for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). How staff and clinicians deal with the patient and family in the urgent care center or emergency room can make all the difference in the world, though, facilitating a better clinical experience and a more positive visit overall, according to a study just published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. The authors noted that children with ASD are more likely than their typical peers to visit an urgent care center, and that interactions with every staff member (not just clinicians) can influence how the visit goes. Asking parents if their child has issues with particular sensory stimuli, or what calming techniques are effective if the child becomes anxious or agitated, is a good start, they wrote. Sharing that information with staff is equally important. Another tip from the study: Communicate a realistic expected wait time to the parent so they can gauge how best to keep their child engaged until they can see the provider. ASD is a developmental disability in which children and adults may experience challenges in communicating and interacting with others. That can include clearly indicating symptoms.

Study Lists Ways to Ensure a Positive Experience for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder