I have a learning disability or autism and want to see my doctor

This page is for people who have a learning disability or autism. It tells you more about what to expect and what to do when you get to the doctors. It also has some useful resources and information for your doctor and the person who supports you.

Going to the doctor is very important.

The doctor can:

  • give you advice on how to stay healthy
  • check to see if you are unwell
  • make sure you are getting the treatment you need to get better.

Doctors can also find out if there is something in your life that might cause problems with your health.

Going to the doctors

We have written this guide about what might happen at the doctors. Your experience might be different to this. That is ok and the staff at the doctors are there to help you.

What might happen when you arrive at the doctors

There will be people who can help when you get to the doctors

Arrive at the doctors 5 or 10 minutes before your appointment.

Go to the reception desk. You might have to wait.

When it is your turn, tell the receptionist you have an appointment. They might ask for your name and date of birth.

If you have someone supporting you and you would like them to be in the room with you when you see the doctor, tell the receptionist.

The receptionist will “check you in”. This means they know you are there for your appointment.

The receptionist will ask you to wait. They will show you where you can wait or you can ask them where you can wait.

When the doctor is ready to see you someone will call your name and show you where to go.

What might happen when you see the doctor or the nurse

You might be seen by a doctor or a nurse

You will go into a room and sit down. The doctor or nurse will be there.

When you are sat with the doctor or nurse they will ask you questions. These questions might be about yourself or your body. It is important to answer honestly.

The doctor or nurse might want to do a test or a procedure. Ask them to explain it first so you can understand what will happen.

The doctor or nurse might give you advice or give you a prescription for medicine. A prescription is a note to give a pharmacy so they know what medicine to give you. The doctor or nurse can explain this to you.

If you do not understand anything ask them to explain again, or in a different way. You might like them to write it down or tell the person who is supporting you.

When you have finished at the doctors you will leave. If you have a prescription you might have to go to a pharmacy so they can give you your medicine.

You might be asked to make another appointment to see the doctor again.

Things that might help you

Show this webpage to the person who supports you

We have made a webpage with information on it for support workers or carers to use. It includes ways they can support you to see the doctors and a social story template. Ask them to look at this webpage: I support someone to see the doctor

Show this webpage to staff at your doctors

We have made a webpage with information on it for staff at the doctors to use. It includes things they should think about and a social story template. Ask them to look at this webpage: I am a GP and want to be more accessible

Download ‘Tips to help me at the doctors’ resource

We have created a document to tell staff at the doctors more about you.

  1. Download your free Tips to help me at the doctors by clicking on this link
  2. Print it out and fill in your details, including your name and how you would like to be supported at the doctors.
  3. Show it at your doctors and let staff there know you would like support.
  4. Tell them there is more information on the back about helping people who have learning disabilities.

Join the Learning Disability Register

You can join the Learning Disability Register

The Learning Disability Register is for people who have a learning disability.

It gives the doctors more information about you.

You will be given a free health check every year.

Talk to your support team or the doctor about joining the Learning Disability Register.