Healthcare for autistic adults
Going to see a doctor or dentist can be stressful for many autistic people. It’s important that health professionals are aware of autistic people’s needs and can make the experience as relaxed as possible.
If you’re looking for a doctor or dentist for the autistic person you support, it’s good to phone ahead to check if the practice is autism-friendly and can offer the adjustments you may need. Many GP practices also offer online and telephone consultations.
For dental care, you may be able to get a referral to specialist community dental services from your dentist. These clinics offer care for people who cannot be treated in a general dental practice.
Preparing for appointments
Sometimes you may be able to visit the practice in advance of an appointment, to help the autistic person to get used to the surroundings. You may also want to prepare by bringing some tools such as ear defenders or sunglasses on the day of the appointment, if the autistic person is sensitive to sounds or bright lights for example.
If possible, try to give the doctor or dentist as much information before your visit as you can, so they can think of the best way to support the autistic patient. Some doctors or dentists may allow you to spread treatments over several visits or book a double appointment, so the autistic person has more time to adjust to the environment.
Links to more resources
Stress and anxiety and its impact
Autistic people can have difficulty managing their own emotions as a result of their differences and can quickly become overwhelmed. They may be more prone to meltdowns or may appear to ‘overreact’ to something others consider minor. Read more on how to help autistic people with stress and anxiety.