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In Pohla Smith's June 18 article, "Treating Autism Patients in Emergencies Presents Challenges," Dr. Arvind Venkat expresses concern with the treatment of this population in a setting that may be very stressful.
Autism is all too prevalent and still somewhat misunderstood. Currently over 500,000 children in the United States are affected by this disability. Because of this increasing number it is absolutely crucial that health-care providers (i.e. doctors, nurses, medical assistants, physician assistants and nurse practitioners) along with any other professional that may come in contact with these patients in this unfamiliar setting develop an action plan as well as raise awareness of how to interact with these kids.
As a family member, friend and caregiver of children with autism, the creation of this plan of care is extremely comforting and overdue. Each child with this disability faces his or her own unique challenges with social interactions, communication and coping skills.
Developing an outline for acute care will help to ease not only the anxiety of the patient but also their family members and caregivers that present with them. If the health-care setting begins to address this population's special needs, the many stereotypes that surround them may begin to diminish.
First Published July 10, 2012 12:00 am