Preparing for a doctor's visit can be overwhelming for anyone with more complex health issues. However, with the right preparation, you can make the most of your appointment and get the help you need.
Here's your step-by-step guide specifically for neurodiverse needs to get ready for your next appointment.
First, make sure to arrive on time and confident about what's planned for the visit:
Double check your appointment day and time and set up a reminder in your calendar. You might want to call your doctor's office and ask for more details on what is planned for your appointment, i.e. certain examinations, and how much time it will take.
Plan ahead for transportation and make sure you have a reliable way to get to and from your appointment. Add travel time to your calendar and consider leaving extra early in case of unexpected delays.
Confirm that your health insurance covers the costs of the visit and/or treatment. Prepare your insurance card to bring along.
Consider bringing a support person. Having a close friend or family member come along with you can be a great help, both for emotional support and for having a second set of ears to listen and remember important information from the appointment.
Second, make sure to have all information, documents and questions at hand:
Write down your current symptoms and questions. Having a clear list of what you want to discuss with your doctor can help you feel more organized and ensure you don't forget anything important. It can also be helpful to rate the severity of your symptoms on a scale of 1-10 to help communicate their impact on your daily life.
Compile any background information in case you're seeing this doctor for the first time or want to share new information from visits to other health care professionals. You might want to make a list of these other doctors for reference.
Write down which medication you are currently taking, prescribed and/or self-medicated. It will help to find the best treatment option for you and avoid unexpected side effects.
Bring along a notebook or device to take notes during the appointment. Having all of your information in one place can make it easier to reference later.
Remember that you can always take a break during your appointment if you feel overwhelmed. Also, don't hesitate to ask if you don't understand something the doctor is saying or if you need more time to process information. Your doctor is there to help you, so make sure to communicate your needs.