- Associated Press - Sunday, February 7, 2016

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - An Orlando children’s hospital is piloting a new program to reduce stress for children with Autism when they visit the emergency room.

Nemours Children’s Hospital officials say emergency rooms tend to be overstimulating and can exacerbate symptoms for children with autism or other behavioral conditions. The program offers family a separate, quiet waiting room or playroom or headphones or sensory brushes to help distract children from overwhelming sights and sounds.

A child life specialist is brought in to assess the situation and frontline staff are trained to reduce use of unnecessary monitors and limiting the number of caregivers in the room. Consults, test and medications are also expedited.

Three research studies are underway to evaluate the pilot. Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, a sister hospital in Wilmington, Delaware, is planning a similar program.

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