What is the Sensory Box Program?
The Sensory Box Program is a pilot program modifying the Distraction Box Program to suit the specific needs of children with sensory disorders, particularly those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The items will be curated in collaboration with specialist staff at the Cabrini Hospital, who are seeking to improve the hospital experience for children with ASD and their families, and will be used in paediatric wards, emergency departments, and theatre/recovery units.
Why Sensory Boxes?
Cabrini Hospital and TLC for Kids are working together to ensure that children with ASD are well-supported in hospital. The healthcare needs of children with ASD are substantial and complex for a number of reasons:
- They are more likely than peers their age to already suffer from clinical anxiety
- They have a higher frequency and duration of admissions due to often having other disorders and conditions, and a tendency for accidents and injuries
- They may have abnormal pain thresholds which are difficult to gauge and manage
- They are highly sensitive to sounds, sights and textures of hospitals and procedures
- They are triggered by abnormal or unpredictable situations and places, including waiting rooms, waiting times, and unfamiliar people and spaces
- Anxiety may trigger emotional outbursts, aggression, combativeness or self-injury
A majority of nurses suggested that a kit would help manage anxiety in patients with ASD. The prevailing research and literature recommends that healthcare professionals use distraction and communication to guide children through procedures, using a variety of sensory items that cater to a range of common sensory needs.
What we hope to achieve
We aim to use this trial program not only to improve the Cabrini hospital experience for children with ASD or other intellectual, mental and developmental delays, but also to expand the program nation-wide. With an increasing amount of children being diagnosed with ASD, we are pioneering a healthcare solution to meet their specific sensory needs and make hospital visits a less traumatic time for both the child and their family.
With your help, and a shared vision, we can help make life a little easier for kids with ASD and ensure they get the health care they need.
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