A local vet practice has introduced resources to help make visits easier for children with sensory sensitivities, caused by conditions such as autism. The scheme is part of a wider project launched by Medivet Ramsbottom to ensure that the practice is an accessible and comfortable place for all pet owners to visit when their animals need care.
Sensory sensitivity is our response to sensory channels: sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, and pain. Highly sensitive individuals, including children with autism, can have strong reactions when events or surroundings are particularly stimulating, noisy or bright and this can make visits to somewhere new, like a vet practice, a difficult and stressful experience for them and their parents.
Resources introduced by Medivet Ramsbottom include a booklet explaining what happens at the practice – which can be sent to children ahead of the visit – and a box of sensory objects in the waiting room to reduce stress by keeping them occupied. Later this year, the practice will undergo a refurbishment which will enable it to implement additional measures to increase its accessibility to all clients.
Mr Ian Ross, veterinary surgeon and branch partner, explained: “One of our clients has a daughter with autism and contacted us before her visit to discuss how we could make it easier for her. This made us think and we started exploring what we could do to make our environment more accessible and welcoming, not just for those with sensory sensitivities but also for those with any condition or disability that could make visiting us difficult.
“As we’ve found with the steps we’ve already taken, sometimes just a few simple things can make a real difference to children and their families. We have just started on this journey but it will be a big focus for this year and we encourage any clients to contact us ahead of their visit and suggest how we can make their visit more comfortable. We will always do our best to help.”
Medivet Ramsbottom is based at 19 Central Street and can be contacted on 01706 827787. Medivet is a veterinary led group of almost 300 branches with 17 24-hour veterinary centres across the UK. Underpinned by its partnership ethos, it is forging a national community of passionate vets, offering exceptional veterinary care that’s always there.