If you can, look for a trauma-informed healthcare provider, or a provider that has experience helping people who have experienced trauma.
If your current provider doesn’t listen to your concerns or makes you uncomfortable, remember that you can absolutely seek out a different practitioner.
Most kids with ASD are either hypersensitive or hyposensitive to stimuli like noises, lights, touch, etc.
If someone has Autism and/or PTSD, he/she may be more prone to sensory overload and startle more easily.
That means there’s not much information about how typical treatment methods can or should be adjusted for patients with ASD.
According to this article, a nurse could…
Offer home-based services
Use more visual aids, such as gradient scales to describe degrees of emotion
Keep appointment times regular and predictable as much as possible
Provide sensory toys or allow children to bring their own
Emphasize the possibility of a “happy ending” after trauma―“this correlates well with the documented effectiveness of social stories, narratives and role-playing in therapy involving individuals with ASD”
Be mindful of how often society dismisses the emotions of autistic people
Involve other trusted caregivers
…and more. Essentially, the therapist should keep the child’s unique strengths and limitations in mind at each step and be open to flexibility.
Not take behavior personally
Be willing to listen without pressuring him/her to talk
Identify possible triggers and help him/her avoid them
Remain calm and understanding when he/she is emotional
Let him/her make age-appropriate choices so he/she feels in control of his/her life
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Treatments should be appropriately adapted for autistic people and their individual needs.
(Rumball et al. 2020) and Kerns et al. (2022) suggest a number of other events that autistic people found traumatic:
abandonment by/loss of a loved one (for example a family member, pet or support staff)
sensory experiences (for example fire alarms)
transitions and change (for example school transitions, routine changes with the seasons, unpredictability in day to day life)
social difficulties and confusion (for example difficulties interpreting social cues, misunderstandings and conflicts)
events related to one’s own mental health difficulties (for example psychotic experiences).
Autistic people may also be more likely to find these experiences traumatic due to autistic characteristics such as:
communication and social interaction differences
distress around changes to routines
distress if prevented from taking part in repetitive and restricted behaviours such as stimming.
Some theories suggest that other factors associated with being autistic, may mean an increased risk of developing or maintaining PTSD symptoms
But just because symptoms aren’t crippling doesn’t mean you're not affected.
If feasible, other tests the patient fears might be performed while the patient is sedated. For example, before or after dental work, vaccines could be administered, blood could be drawn, and gynaecology or other physical exams could be done. This practise requires coordination and communication among providers.