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Medical center creates sensory exam room for children with special needs

By Rachel McCrary, Whitney Bryan

Mid-Michigan (WNEM) -- A Mid-Michigan medical center designed a room especially for children with special needs.

Parents with children who have special needs have trouble finding a doctor’s office where their children feel comfortable and safe.

Fenton Medical Center has designed a sensory-friendly exam room with a goal to help children become more comfortable during their doctor’s visits.

Heather Mannor, a physician assistant, helped to design the room. She said she is passionate about it because she raised a daughter with special needs.

“We had a lot of doctors visits and we realized along the way that there are a lot of places that are not always prepared to have kids like her,” Mannor said.

It’s a space that Mannor said kids can forget they’re at the doctor. She said they put up a fun mirror, colorful wall art, and more.

“Fidgets and different things that will help them when they are waiting. We have also purchased a weighted lap pad, so they could put that on their lap, sometimes that helps them to center,” Mannor said.

The room is all about sensory. The medical team installed LED lighting that makes noise with a dimmer switch.

Dr. Edward Holden is a doctor and a father of a child with special needs. He said the room is working just fine.

“My son definitely likes all the toys. The things he can use for sensory input and that sort of thing,” Holden said.

Mannor hopes more practices develop similar spaces for special kids that see the world a little differently.

“I can kinda go through at a different pace. The questions and exams that I need to do for families and it’s been a huge success,” Mannor said.

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