This Autism Acceptance Day, we’re sharing the story of an individual who overcame his fear of clinical environments with the help of technology.

Kevin, 33, who is autistic and nonverbal, was able to overcome a debilitating fear of medical settings by being shown videos and photos on a tablet.

Kevin is supported by AFG in a supported living service commissioned by Knowsley Council. His Support Worker Steven said: “When we took over Kevin’s care he had not been to the dentist or doctor for over five years. We believed he had a phobia of attending clinical settings – when we tried to take him, he would become extremely anxious and distressed, putting himself and others at risk.

“We noticed that Kevin was really interested whenever we would use the tablet and loved to watch YouTube videos. We started to show him videos of clinical settings to see if it would help ease his anxiety.

“If he needed to get his bloods done, or a flu jab, we’d show him a video of someone having theirs done. We would also act out what would happen at the appointment, so it became a routine to him.

“This worked amazingly well – when we did take him to appointments, rather than assaultive behaviours, he would act out what he had seen in the video, and it started to become normal for him.”

After attending appointments, the team discovered that he had an exposed nerve in his gum and needed a root canal and medication for various medical conditions. He has since had these treatments and his life is now completely different.

Steven said: “Kevin is now much happier and healthier now. We’ve even used YouTube to trial different things like rollercoasters and flight simulators to see how he responded.

“He loved the videos of rollercoasters, so we took him to Blackpool for the first time – he loved every single second of it. We would never have known that without using YouTube. It’s massively improved his life and he’s been able to enjoy experiences that we never thought would be possible.”