When you have an autistic child, doctor's appointments need planning. You need to make sure that not only are you prepared for the appointment, but your child is as well. One of the appointments that can be difficult for children on the spectrum, especially ones with sensory issues, is the audiologist and ENT specialist. If you have an appointment with an audiologist coming up for your child on the spectrum, here are three ways to prepare them for it.

1. Do a Pretend Play of the Appointment

One of the ways you can prepare an autistic child for an audiologist visit is to do a pretend play leading up to the appointment. Find out what will occur during the appointment and reenact that with your child. Get them used to seeing a penlight that may check their ears. Have them put on headphones that they may have on during the appointment. Walk through the steps of the appointment with them. This will help them be accustomed to the sensations and steps before the appointment and reduce some of the stress.

2. Find Apps that Show the Appointment

There are many children's apps that are geared for kids with autism. Some of those apps walk the child through a visit at the doctor, ENT specialist, or audiologist. Since some children on the spectrum learn best from visualization, these apps can help reduce stress about the appointment. Some doctors offices will suggest apps as well that will help. You can download these onto smartphones and tablets.

3. Bring Distractions

Keep in mind that your child will be experiencing noises that may accompany lights in order to determine their hearing if they are young. They may also be touched around the facial areas, neck, and especially the ears. This can be incredibly off-putting and triggering for children on the spectrum. Make sure you bring distractions with you such as toys that can divert them after the procedure, weighted blankets to calm them down, or a snack that may soothe them.

These are only three of the ways you can prepare your autistic child for an audiologist appointment or an appointment with an ENT specialist. Make sure that above all the doctors know that your child is on the spectrum. In some cases, the office may have a doctor or an assistant that is skilled with children on the spectrum who can help with the appointment.

For more information, contact an audiologist like Mark Montgomery MD FACS.