Eyecare center makes doctor's visits easy for kids with autism - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Eyecare center makes doctor's visits easy for kids with autism

(Source: file video) (Source: file video)
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

The sight, smell and lights in a hospital or doctor's waiting room can  be daunting to those with autism.  

Misty Kearney who is a refractive consultant at West Eye Care Center says their waiting room can be a little challenging for kids with autism.  

"Because we have nine surgeons and one optometrist on this campus, we can have a pretty crowded facility to come into and while most can handle a crowd it’s especially difficult for autistic children," said Kearney.   

Since patients with autism face these challenges when visiting a doctor,  the West Georgia Eye Care Center is introducing a social story book to help patients become familiar with their upcoming experience.  

"It has pages that will help you prepare your child for a visit to the eye doctor. It's very simple script with a lot of visual and these are actual pictures taken from our own campus," said Kearney.  

To better promote Autism Awareness Month, staff at West Georgia Eye Care Center strategized better ways to accommodate those autism.

A employee of West Georgia Eye Care Center introduced her mother who is a paraprofessional in the Special Education autism specialist at Hannan Elementary. This is how West Georgia Eye Care Center adopted the idea of the social story book.  

Nicole Bush has a 12-year-old daughter with autism. Bush says kids like her daughter experience high levels of anxiety when it comes to the unknown or changes to their daily routine.  

"We have to prepare her several weeks in advance before we go to a new doctor, to let her know what type of doctor we're going to and what to expect," said Bush. 

Social story books are placed in all waiting areas at West Georgia Eye Care Center. They're also downloadable where parents have the chance to prep their child at home.  

According to the organization Autism Speaks, social story books are used to decrease anxiety and can be used for other new experiences like going to a new school. 

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