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Helping Make Doctor Visits Less Scary — Free Online Read-Along Stories for Kids at HANS

What many of you may not know is that I have an MD and used to work as a pediatric resident at the Tufts Floating Hospital for Children (on a side note–check out their video interviews with a few of their pediatric specialists online). I’ve been thinking a lot about integrating both of my interests (medicine and writing for kids) on my blog, and have been doing some research into children’s literature about medicine.

Along that vein (pun not intended), I recently came across the website for the Help Autism Now Society. Because autistic kids often have trouble with new situations, HANS is developing a series of free online read-along stories for kids that show step-by-step what to expect at a doctor’s visit.

The stories feature kid-friendly drawings accompanied by a cute recording of a child reading the text aloud. So far they only have two titles (“Getting Blood Drawn” and “Going to the Doctor’s“) that are very similar in content, but they expect to offer more titles soon and are planning to add voice-overs in different languages to the website. “Going to the Doctor’s” highlights some typically scary and invasive parts of a regular physical exam, including images of a doctor using an otoscope and a tongue-depressor, and doing an abdominal exam. At the end of the story, the boy gets a shot and is rewarded with a sticker. My only gripe–why is the child getting completely undressed and just sitting there while the doctor talks to the mother? Not sure this is the best way to get on good terms with a child–especially an autistic one–and I don’t think most pediatricians do this.

In any case, I think parents will find this website useful for any kid who finds going to the doctor a scary prospect.

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