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Once your child has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, there is place that you are going to get to know, as if it is a room in your own home - THE WAITING ROOM!!!! Trying to help your child cope in such a confined space for long periods of time, can be challenging, exhausting, stressful and just hard work. So, what is about the WAITING ROOM that fills us with dread and gives us sleepless nights even contemplating it with our child? THE SILENCE Silence is not always an easy thing for our children to cope with. I know from experience that Emily does not cope well with silence and fills it with giggles and shouts! It doesn’t matter whether it is in a doctor’s waiting room, while vows are being taken at a wedding, a serious part of a musical when someone is dying – Emily fills that silence! BEING STILL Waiting rooms are not great places for any child to be, but when your autistic child is expected to remain seated and still for 20 minutes, because surgery is running late, it becomes impossible. BEING IN A ROOM FULL OF STRANGERS Your child may find it really difficult and uncomfortable being in a confined space with lots of strange people, coughing, spluttering and moaning. NOISE


At best, your child may find the interruption of the tannoy and the constant noise of the music or tv, uncomfortable – at worst actually painful and make them feel ill. JUST THE WAITING!! Waiting is something that our children find really difficult to understand and to process. They may not know what they are waiting for and they certainly will not understand WHY they have to wait. Unfortunately, going the dentist, doctor, hearing specialist, behavioural specialist, optician etc., will mean WAITING! So, how do your make the event as calm, easy and quick as possible? INFORM THE RECEPTIONIST Whenever you make an appointment tell the receptionist your child has autism and finds waiting difficult. Ask for an appointment at the beginning of the day, so that waiting is kept to a minimum. If this is not possible, ensure you do not choose a time when your child would normally eat or sleep. ASK THE RECEPTIONIST FOR HELP If your child struggles with stimulation overload with loud noise, ask the receptionist if they would turn off the music or tv, while you are at the surgery with your child. ANNOUNCE YOUR ARRIVAL Ring the surgery on your mobile when you get to the carpark and if there is a wait stay in the car. TAKE THINGS WITH YOU Take something with you that your child loves to play with. If it is something they get totally absorbed in, so much the better. If your child loves music or videos – you could take an ipad, ipod or a portable dvd player. Don’t forget to take headphones! You could also take a drink with you. WEAR COMFORTABLE CLOTHING!!! This thought just popped into my head, because I remember when Emily was about 2 years old and I had to hold her still on my knee, while they carried hearing tests. I was wearing a skirt with buttons down the front and every time Emily struggled, the buttons came undone. In the end I popped Emily on the floor and completely twisted my skirt round! LIVE AND REACT IN THE NOW If your worst nightmare comes true and your child has a complete meltdown in a waiting room full of strangers, DO NOT APOLOGISE TO ANYONE! Just focus on helping your child, gently and calmly, as you would in your own home and IGNORE EVERYONE ELSE. Take care. THE AUTISM NANNY www.theautismnanny.co.uk


WAITING ROOMS!!!!!  
WAITING ROOMS!!!!!  
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