Help for Autistic Children Undergoing Orthopedic Surgery

As a San Diego pediatric orthopedist, I spend a lot of time with parents and their children to create a calm environment, build clear expectations and establish a bedrock reservoir of trust.

Although some children face surgery unafraid, many struggle with anxiety. Generally autistic children fall into the latter group, which is why it is edifying to see articles like this one helping to spread the word about better methods for calming these kids:

The studies also recommended including caregivers as “interpreters” of patients’ needs because the children often cannot communicate for themselves.

Doctors can make changes to the surgical or pre-surgical setting to match patients’ specific needs and preferences, the study also concludes. For example, hospitals can bring in a service dog to calm the patient the first time they’re introduced to the surgical setting.

It may also be helpful to let the patient get used to the staff and the setting before surgery as a type of “rehearsal” and to give the patient as many choices and distractions as possible, the study team writes.

There’s lots more in the article, including good ideas about removing unnecessary equipment, dimming the lights, and working out a narrative that makes sense of the procedure within a more appealing and decodable story.

For the best pediatric orthopedist in San Diego, don’t hesitate to contact the AOSM offices today.

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