Skip to main content
Get Care MyChart Find a Provider Find a Location
Alt text image caption right

Gundersen Boscobel makes donation to sensory friendly efforts.

Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics (GBAHC) is working to meet the needs of its patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other sensory processing needs.

One in 59 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with ASD, and often present with social-communication deficits, restrictive and repetitive behaviors and challenges in managing sensory environments. Emergency departments especially are fast-paced, high-stress and sensory-intensive settings.

Aiming for Acceptance Executive Director Rose Cutting connected University of Wisconsin Madison student Jessica Muesbeck, a member of Assistant Professor Karla Ausderau's research lab, with GBAHC to find ways to make its emergency room and clinics more accommodating to patients with sensory needs.

"We often think of using what we learn in treatment sessions or in schools," said Muesbeck, who is pursuing a master's degree in occupational therapy. "But thinking about how to help individuals with autism better experience a hospital emergency room gives me a chance to apply what I'm learning in a different type of setting."

This summer, the collaborators worked to develop sensory friendly guidelines and determine adaptations necessary to support a sensory friendly environment. A sensory menu and toolboxes are being created to best support patients with ASD and sensory processing challenges. To help make this work possible, a $750 donation from the Partners of Gundersen Boscobel will supply the hospital and clinics with noise cancelling headphones, fidget spinners, sunglasses and other sensory aids.

"In a rural healthcare facility, everyone is asked to know a lot on a variety of different topics," said GBAHC Chief Executive Officer David Hartberg. "The relationship we've built with UW–Madison is great because they are the content experts who can fill the gaps where we need a little help."

Muesbeck and Ausderau have received a Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Seed Grant to expand their efforts to additional rural emergency departments in Wisconsin.

"Working in partnership with Gundersen Boscobel, our lab will gain important insights into how we can think about better serving children with autism," Ausderau said.

If you would like to help support local children and families with sensory processing needs, contact Gundersen Boscobel Foundation Director Natalie Tollefson to see how your gift can help impact this important initiative.


Grateful patient

Cancer treatment made easier by care close to home

March 26, 2024

One day, Terry Ritter was at the farm brush-hogging bottoms, feeling fine. The next morning, he woke knowing something was very wrong.

Bellin and Gundersen Health System receives 2024 Advocacy All-Star Award from WHA

March 22, 2024

Bellin and Gundersen Health System received the 2024 Advocacy All-Star Award at Wisconsin Hospital Association’s (WHA) annual Advocacy Day event on March 20.
Grateful patient

Rehab at Gundersen St. Elizabeth’s gets Kellogg man back on the job

March 20, 2024

John Schurhammer remembers the day well. He’d been lifting heavy materials all day at work – heavier than what he should’ve been handling – when he decided to lift just
Who we are

Gundersen researcher honors mother’s cancer journey, completes memoir

March 20, 2024

As a nurse, Sandra Ann Cowden found joy in caring for patients. However, when she was just 30 years old, she found herself on the receiving end of care when

1900 South Ave.
La Crosse, WI 54601

(608) 782-7300

Language Support:
Jump back to top