Vernon College helping special needs students find comfort at the doctor

Vernon College helping special needs students find comfort at the doctor

VERNON, Texas (TNN) - Going to the doctor’s office can be frightening for any child, but for children with special needs just the simple act of getting your blood pressure checked can be a terrifying experience, something Vernon ISD and Vernon College are working together to change.

“I think probably the blood pressure would be the scariest because it gets tight on their arm," Vernon College’s nursing simulation and lab coordinator Jennifer Hatley said. "My students even got to see how important it is that this doesn’t get too tight.”

“Many of our children have had lots of experiences with the medical field and many not pleasant,” Vernon ISD special education director Toni Waldo said.

A parent told Waldo they have to sedate their child just to go to the dentist or get a basic checkup, she then reached out to Hatley.

“When Miss Waldo came to me it was the first time we even considered something like that we didn’t know there was a need,” Hatley said.

“It’d be a great thing for the students to work with special needs children too because that’s a definite population in our community that needs medical care,” Waldo said.

The middle schoolers visited the lab on Nov. 6 where they got to play with a hospital bed, take temperatures and check each other’s heartbeats to see a doctor’s office isn’t so scary.

“We are trying to do some of those things where it doesn’t hurt to be on either side of this,” Waldo said.

Also giving nursing students a lesson beyond the classroom or clinicals.

“Without being at the school district or in the families they don’t always see the special needs students,” Hatley said.

“I know how I can in the future show them different things like blood pressure cuffs and allow them to play with it before I start my assessment of them so it will make them a little less uneasy,” senior nursing student Kebrenna Jemison said.

Vernon College’s Century City campus in Wichita Falls is also working on a partnership like this one.

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