Some tips for healthcare practitioners seeing autistic women and girls for appointments, based on information gathered at our event ‘Health and Wellbeing for Women and Girls on the Autism Spectrum’:

Ensure autism knowledge up to date

Be reassuring

  • Be aware of likely high anxiety levels
  • Give time for the patient to ask questions

Provide clear information in advance

  • What your role is
  • Structure of how the appointment will go, and how long it will take
  • Directions and map of how to get to the appointment
  • What possible outcomes of the appointment are
  • Written information and visual aids

Clear communication

  • Ask the patient the best way to communicate with them
  • Use visual aids where appropriate
  • Give the option for the patient to give written information as well as verbal
  • Give plenty of processing time

Check understanding, don’t assume it

  • Including for those who are verbally articulate
  • Ask to repeat back any key points or actions that need to be taken
  • Consider a follow up phone call to ensure understanding

Give follow up information

  • Be specific about what the next steps are
  • Written summary of appointment provided afterwards
  • Details of how to find out more information or where to ask questions

Some people may benefit from a home appointment

Sensory sensitivities

  • Try to minimise sensory input
    • Consider the environment for the appointment and potential triggers for sensory overload

Offer appointments at times of day when waiting room will be least busy and there is least likely to be delays

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