Individuals with Autism and their families experience many barriers to accessible healthcare. Healthcare is not “one size fits all.” The Vaccine Education Initiative (VEI) believes that it is kind to be inclusive!
Our Guide to Accessible Vaccination outlines ways to make the healthcare experience more accessible, beyond vaccines. The tips outlined in the document are organized by category:
- Sensory Considerations
- Appointment Preparation
- Space Considerations, and more!
Here are steps that can be taken to increase the accessibility of a healthcare experience:
- Dim the lights.
- Make sensory tools and supports available.
- Reduce crowding.
- Offer noise-reducing headphones
- Play calming music/video at a low volume.
- Use Social Narratives to help individuals and families prepare for the appointment.
- Prepare and send a visual schedule ahead of time.
- Ask individualized questions during registration/sign-up.
- Send a reminder email.
- Prepare a feedback survey to be taken during observation or sent out via email after the event.
- Offer a waiting area with sensory fidgets, activities, and visual schedules.
- Use private rooms for vaccine administration.
- Plan for an extra vaccination room in case someone needs more time.
- Consider separate observation and waiting rooms.
- Provide a range of activities in observation spaces.
- Allow movement, exploration, and play.
- Provide clear signs showing where to go.
- Include break space for volunteers, nurses, and others to reduce crowds, and noise in other spaces.
- Provide water, coffee, snacks, etc.
For more information or to access our full Guide to Accessible Vaccination, visit: AutismSociety.org/VEI
The Autism Society’s mission is to create connections, empowering everyone in the Autism community with the resources needed to live fully. As the nation’s oldest leading grassroots Autism organization, the Autism Society and its approximately 70+ local affiliates serve over half a million members of the Autism community each year. It envisions a world where everyone in the Autism community is connected to the support they need, when they need it – including education, advocacy efforts, and supports and services throughout the lifespan. During Autism Acceptance Month, the Autism Society has a goal to fundraise $350,000 to expand acceptance in practice for the Autism community. For more information, go to www.autismsociety.org, Facebook, Instagram or X.
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