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Sam Rowlands MS supports initiative to help autistic children cope in hospital

Sam Rowlands, Member of the Welsh Parliament for North Wales, is backing a new idea to help support children with autism cope when visiting hospitals.

Mr Rowlands, Shadow Health Minister said: “I am delighted to hear about this new scheme which will help autistic children cope with being in a hospital.

“We all know how intimidating it can be for anyone attending a medical environment, especially for youngsters, and I welcome any moves to make this a more pleasant experience.

“Well done to Emergency Department Staff Nurse, Emma Eccles who came up with the idea to provide ‘Busy Bags’ to help autistic children cope during a visit to a hospital.”

Emma noticed that autistic children were struggling with the environment of an Emergency Department – the bright lights, loud noises and different smells make the area unsettling for those with autism and introduced a ‘Busy Bags’ scheme.

She worked with the Equality Team to secure £500 of funding from Awyr Las, the North Wales NHS Charity, which then went onto purchase 100 Busy Bags from Autistic UK to support children across the whole of the Health Board’s area.

The Busy Bags contain a light wand, bubble bracelet, activity book, notepad, squeeze toy, ear plugs, colouring pages and crayons, along with a bilingual My Health Passport document so medical staff are aware of a child’s individual needs and how to support them. 

The Equality Team have been working closely with Autistic UK to support the implementation of the Code of Practice for Autism. Over the next few months, BCUHB will be producing leaflets for autistic patients and family members that explain the environment and facilities in different departments under a project called No Surprises. To find out more email [email protected].