© 2020 WKSU
Public Radio News for Northeast Ohio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Health & Science

Akron General Designated 'Autism Friendly' Adult Hospital

Staff and board members from the Autism Society of Greater Akron pose with the award at Thursday's ceremony.
Dr. William Lanzinger, second from left in the back row, along with Autism Society of Greater Akron board and staff members, pose with the award at the designation ceremony Thursday, December 12, 2019.

There are about 20,000 children and adults in the Greater Akron area with autism. Now, Cleveland Clinic Akron General is specifically working to accommodate adults on the spectrum. For one doctor, these changes are personal.

Dr. William Lanzinger is a hand surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Akron General and the board chairman of the Autism Society of Greater Akron.

But he’s also a father.

“From a parent perspective, any time there is any accommodation done for my son, I would say I am very grateful,” Lanzinger said.

Lanzinger’s son is autistic. So, he’s familiar with the small successes parents of children with autism have. For his family, it was finding a barber for his son, David.

He says the barber made special accommodations to make David comfortable. That’s what the hospital is trying to do by providing special training for more than 650 employees.

“So, it’s important that anyone in the hospital can provide support for these patients. It’s not just the caregivers.”

He says there can be anxiety for parents moving autistic children from pediatrics to adult medicine.

Akron General Designated 'Autism Friendly' Adult Hospital

“Cleveland Clinic Akron General wants those patients and their families to know that we’re ready for them and we’re prepared and trained now to accommodate patients with their special needs.”

The hospital is also updating medical records to let caregivers know when their patients are on the spectrum so they can adequately meet their needs.

Lanzinger says the idea is that anyone in the hospital from front desk personnel to caregivers can help support these patients.