Ciara Trump of Woodbine has taken her 5-year-old son Otto to doctors’ offices and emergency departments more times than she can count. Unfortunately, many of those experiences have been traumatic. Otto has autism and sensory processing issues and is non-verbal, so he can get very overwhelmed by the sights, sounds and actions around him – especially in medical facilities. When Otto developed a limp after a recent afternoon of jumping on the trampoline, Ciara naturally worried about what to do.
“I had to weigh the pros and cons of taking Otto in for an X-ray and waited for 24-hours to see if his limp would resolve on its own. It didn’t, so I decided to take him to Shore Medical Center’s pediatric ER the next day,” Ciara said.
What happened next simply blew her away.
“From the moment we walked in, the staff knew right away what to do for us. The registrar noticed that Otto had autism and sent someone out immediately to walk us back. They explained that Shore has an autism room and asked what they could do for Otto to keep him more comfortable. I couldn’t believe it!”
Their experience only got better from there.
Ciara brought Otto to the room in his wagon. As he looked around and saw the colorful crocodile tactile toy on the wall outside the sensory room, he actually seemed excited to be there.
“They kept the lights off as they brought him into the room and turned on the bubble wall. He immediately wanted to climb out of his wagon and explore the room - he wanted to touch everything!”
When it was time for the X-ray, Ciara was amazed that they could just bring the X-ray machine right to his room. At this point, Otto was on the floor, and instead of making him get in the bed, the technician simply performed the X-ray from the floor while Otto watched the underwater scene projected onto the ceiling.
Now that Ciara knows Shore’s Pediatric Care Center has a sensory-friendly program, she feels a tremendous sense of relief.
“Many parents just like me delay medical care because of past traumatic experiences. But at Shore, everyone I encountered understood exactly how to meet Otto’s needs. They knew when he needed a break and gave him the time, space and sensory support he needed. As a parent of a child with autism, it is so reassuring to know that if something happens, I can trust Shore to take good care of him.”