Naomi Aghedo, a Licensed Practical Nurse at the Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders, started the clinic visit like any other. She grabbed the patient’s information sheet and headed toward the waiting room where a very reluctant teenager with autism sat with his mother. She could tell this young man would need a special touch to encourage his participation in the clinic visit. Seeing Naomi’s big smile and hearing her clear expectations for cooperation, the boy was able to engage with her quickly and respond to her requests. That visit was the start of a strong bond between Aghedo and this boy. Today he trusts her enough to allow her to hug him.
Such successes occur regularly for Aghedo. Because she has the responsibility of taking patient vital signs and preparing them to be seen for treatment, Aghedo’s friendly, helpful and energetic manner help her to build trust with her patients.
There are some days when the normal sequence of events is interrupted by a patient who is not interested in having their vitals taken or being escorted to an exam room. It’s on days like these that you can find Aghedo using all her patient care skills to help a child feel safe and comfortable at the Thompson Center.
When asked what she most enjoys about her work Aghedo replied, “I enjoy the challenge of helping the kids and I enjoy seeing them develop and grow.”
Aghedo initially was not as enthusiastic about working with individuals with special needs. As she became better acquainted with children with developmental challenges and their families, she quickly learn ed how rewarding this work could be. Then she realized that her first contact with these patients could make a real difference for them.
Today she says proudly, “And look where I’m at now!”
From the look on her face it’s apparent she wouldn’t have it any other way.