Continuing on with our Autism and Integrative Medicine theme, we move onto the next steps. Trying to correct any problems found. There may be a variety of solutions recommended for you to pursue after the doctor identifies any areas of concern via Blood Draws or by other means. One of those ways that we work to correct issues is by taking medicines or supplements. Sometimes you get lucky with easy things like creams or liquid oral solutions, but we have found that the majority of medicines prescribed to our son are generally oral capsules or pills.
I’m not even sure what the average age for a child is when they can generally take non-liquid oral medications, but I’m betting it is older than my son is currently. Add in the communication barrier of explaining the why and how and I’m betting for many autistic children that age goes up quite a bit. So, you can imagine that getting him to take what is prescribed has come with some work, trial and error, and adjustments along the way.
Trial and error
In the beginning everything he was prescribed that needed to be taken orally was a capsule form. So, the capsule could be opened and medicine put into something else. When we first started seeing the doctor, Damion was only 2, and even though we were supposed to break the habit earlier, he was still using a bottle a few times a day. We found that we were able to put most of the supplements straight into the bottle. We had to fiddle with the amount of medicine versus the milk, making sure that the taste wasn’t too strong that he wouldn’t drink it, but that there wasn’t too much milk to be drank either. We let this continue for a while, turning it into only giving him a bottle when we needed him to take his medicine. But we knew that this was not sustainable and a longer-term solution would need to be done until he was able to swallow pills.
Next, we moved into trying to add the medicine into food such as apple sauce or pudding. It didn’t go over very well. We thought hard and took suggestions on other ways to get him to get these things down. Our final solution, and the one that we currently use, is combining all the supplements, mixing them together utilizing some type of liquid solution (ours is just water), putting it into an oral syringe, and having Damion ingest it that way.
Mixing everything up is pretty easy (making me reminisce about my days working as a chemist;), you just want to make sure that the solution is liquid enough to be easily delivered. Definitely some trial and error for this step. I haven’t tasted the mixture myself, but let me just say, it doesn’t look appetizing. Many of the first trials he just spit everything out. A few of the solutions have a nice orange/yellow coloring to them which will easily stain anything that they get on (fun, fun). For this such reason, I would highly recommend placing a cloth or paper towel under the chin during delivery and giving it to them above an area in the house that is easier to clean up.
Practice Makes Perfect
It took a while, but consistently giving it to him each day set us up with a nice routine. He learned early on the spitting it out just meant that we had to do it all over again. So, he quickly became a champ and takes his medicine daily with nothing more than an unpleased look on his face. We are to the point now that he has been prescribed one non-capsule form oral medication. I thought we would have a big hurdle with this, but the first time I gave it to him he actually just chewed it up and swallowed it. This would not be my preferred suggestion for him, but we are still not to the point where he has figured out how to swallow it whole. I guess it still gets the job done, so no arguments from me.
Even if you never look into the route of integrative, holistic, or alternative medicine for your kiddo, there is still a good chance that at some point in their life they will have to take oral medications for various reasons, even if it is just a 10-day antibiotic cycle. Liquid medications may not come with the same amount of difficulty as pills or capsules but that’s not to say you won’t have a bit of a fight on your hands still when trying to give it to them. Hopefully a few of these suggestions will help you get through taking any long- or short-term medication that you child may need. Overall just remember to stick with it and it will be an easy routine before you know it.