Make emergency departments more autism-friendly

The emergency departments of hospitals are a hive of activity.

This can be overstimulating, especially for individuals with autism who struggle with sensory integration issues and may be overwhelmed by the activities happening around them.

Perhaps making slight accommodations for such individuals can make visits to the emergency department less stressful.

Some ways this can be done include providing headphones to block out noise, dimming the lights, providing a quieter waiting area for patients with autism, and having electronic tablets with autism-specific applications to help patients who are non-verbal to communicate.

This has been done in some hospitals overseas, such as the Nemours Children's Hospital in Orlando, in the United States.

Singapore prides itself on providing world-class medical services. These changes will affirm our position, as well as make emergency department visits a slightly less stressful experience for patients with autism.

Jacelyn Chia Yee Fang (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2016, with the headline 'Make emergency departments more autism-friendly'. Print Edition | Subscribe