Saturday, July 13, 2024

How To Give Autistic Child Medicine

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The Evidence Speaks For Itself

A third-party survey of 144 therapists who had treated over 1,300 Autistic children with iLs found that the method was highly effective considering 24 different measures of physical, behavioural, emotional, social, language and academic functioning. For these and dozens of other results including case studies, media coverage, medical expert endorsement see this link. You too can typically expect improved sensory processing, motor skills and balance, better behaviour, energy level and mood, and improved language, academic and social skills. And all this through music and exercise with a personal coach.

The Rewards Of Successful Medication

In the case of the 10-year-old with an extreme fear of needles, being part of the process to eliminate the fear didnt just make him safer, it actually made him proud.

Parents of children with autism can view the process of overcoming fear and anxiety associated with medication as an opportunity as well as a challenge. Helping your child overcome this fear can improve their self-image, and teach them to confront other anxiety-inducing situations in their daily life.

Here are some resources for further reading on the topic. An Educational Website to Improve Pill Swallowing Skills

Natural Supplements For Autism

1. Fish Oil

Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, specifically the EPA/DHA in fish oil, is critical for brain function and is highly anti-inflammatory. Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids like fish oil is one of the most commonly used complementary and alternative practices in children with autism spectrum disorder. Study results have been mixed but some have demonstrated marked improvement in autism symptoms.

2. Digestive enzymes

Since children with autism tend to have digestive problems and may also have leaky gut, digestive enzymes can help with absorption of vitamins and minerals. According to Autism Canada, digestive enzymes can improve digestion and reduce inflammation, which is very helpful since impairments in digestion and absorption contribute to the childs impaired nutritional status, which can in turn contribute to and further impair immunity, detoxification and brain function.

3. Vitamin D3

Vitamin D deficiency is more common in children with autism compared to children without autism. This is a key vitamin required for healthy brain function. A vitamin D deficiency in a pregnant mother may also increase autism risk in her offspring.

One study even showed that autism rates are highest among babies conceived in winter months and, furthermore, that the season of conception accounts for 11.4 percent of cases of autism, intellectual disability and learning difficulties. This was a record-linkage study of 801,592 children in Scotland.

4. Probiotic

5. L-carnitine

Are Siblings At Greater Risk For Autism Spectrum Disorder

The truth is that genetics do play a role in autism. When one child is diagnosed with ASD, the next child to come along has about a 20% greater risk of developing autism than normal. When the first two children in a family have both been diagnosed with ASD, the third child has about a 32% greater risk of developing ASD.

Tips For Managing Autistic Meltdowns


Since no two individuals with autism are the same, managing autistic meltdowns can be quite individualized and it will take some trial on error on your part to figure out how to calm an autistic child successfully. The good news is that many parents, therapists, and teachers have walked the walk before you, and there are certain tools and strategies you can use to help keep big emotions under control when a meltdown threatens to erupt.

Be consistent and stick to a schedule. Children with autism tend to thrive best when their life follows a regular routine with consistency across the board. While this isnt always possible, maintaining a predictable schedule wherever possible will be helpful to your child. Talk to her therapists and teachers to ensure you are working in tandem, and when events threaten to disrupt your routine , give your child as much advance warning as possible.

Give warnings before transitions. Giving warnings before transitions is another great strategy for managing autistic meltdowns. This is especially important when a child is moving from a preferred activity to something he or she finds less interesting. A is a great tool to use as it visually shows kids the passage of time, and providing a 10-, 5-, and 3-minute warning can also help make transitions easier.

What Is The Outlook For People With Autism Spectrum Disorder

In many cases, the symptoms of ASD become less pronounced as a child gets older. Parents of children with ASD may need to be flexible and ready to adjust treatment as needed for their child.

People with ASD may go on to live typical lives, but there is often need for continued services and support as they age. The needs depend on the severity of the symptoms. For most, it’s a lifelong condition that may require ongoing supports.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Through research, there has been much that has been learned about autism spectrum disorder over the past 20 years. There is ongoing active research on the causes of ASD, early detection and diagnosis, prevention and treatments.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/29/2020.


Promote Routine And Familiarity

Those with autism often describe their world as overwhelming and unpredictable; having a regular daily routine helps relieve stress and uncertainty. 

Your child will manage anxiety better if they know what to expect and offers them a sign of comfort. Create the same routines for each activity, such as preparing the same meals and traveling via the same route to school. 

When A Child With Autism Will Not Take Medicine

Todays video blog is all about when a child with autism will not take medicine. As you know, Im a behavior analyst and a mom to 2 adult sons, one with autism.  Some of you may not know that Ive also been a Registered Nurse for over 3 decades. I feel that my nursing background has been extremely helpful in working within the autism field. Because of my background and experience, I feel qualified to answer questions about medication administration and the unique issues parents often face with their children with autism.

When Lucas was a baby, we could put liquid medicine such as infant Ibuprofen directly into his mouth. And since the infant medicine was flavored and it was a small amount in a dropper, he usually took that without too many issues. But as Lucas got older, the volumes of liquid Ibuprofen required for his larger size became a lot more difficult for him to take.

Autism And Anxiety Disorders

Forty percent of young people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder have clinically elevated levels of anxiety or at least one anxiety disorder, including obsessive compulsive disorder,according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America,

Anxiety disorders like these may be a reason for taking medication, and can also be a reason why your child refuses medication. Taking medication may also represent a change in routine a common trigger of distress among children diagnosed with ASD.

I Understanding Your Child

Autism requires that you understand your childs behavioral changes and inconsistencies. To achieve this, you may need to engage your child in as many activities as possible. When parents consistently monitor their children, they understand what the child likes and dislikes including the childs sensory sensitivities which are very crucial when it comes to giving your child food and administering medicines. This can help you decide which methods are suitable for your child.

How To Give Liquid Medication To Your Child:

  • Measure out the correct amount of liquid medication into a dropper or syringe.
  • Make sure your child is sitting up.
  • If your child is old enough, explain what you are about to do.
  • If he is old enough to hold the dropper/syringe himself, try letting him do it.
  • Help your child position the dropper/syringe behind his teeth.
  • Slowly push the plunger toward the inside of his cheek. Avoid injecting liquid toward the back of his throat to prevent choking.
  • Reward your child with positive feedback such as, Good job!
  • Complementary And Alternative Medicine Treatments

    To relieve the symptoms of ASD, some parents and healthcare professionals use treatments that are outside of what is typically recommended by pediatricians. These treatments are known as complementary and alternative medicine treatments. CAM treatments refer to products or services that are used in addition to or instead of traditional medicine. They might include special diets, dietary supplementsexternal icon, chelation , biologicals , or mind-body medicine .

    Many of these treatments have not been studied for effectiveness; moreover, a review of studies on chelation found some evidence of harm and no evidence to indicate it is effective in treating children with ASD . Current research shows that as many as one-third of parents of children with ASD may have tried CAM treatments, and up to 10% may be using a potentially dangerous treatment . Before starting such a treatment, talk to your childs doctor.

    To learn more about CAM therapies for ASD, go to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicines Autismexternal icon webpage. The FDA has information about potentially dangerous treatments hereexternal icon.

    What Is An Autistic Meltdown

    Mistakes Parents Make When Giving Medicine to Kids

    Most, if not all, parents of children aged 2 and older have experienced a temper tantrum at some point in their lifetime, but few people truly understand the difference between a tantrum and an autistic meltdown. On the surface, they look pretty similar, but while temper tantrums are often goal-driven behaviors fuelled by an audience, autistic meltdowns typically occur in response to feelings of overwhelm and happen with or without spectators.

    Temper tantrums are often a manipulation ploy used by small children to try and get what they want and can typically be rectified through appropriate discipline. Autistic meltdowns, on the other hand, can happen at any age, are more intense and emotional, and typically last much longer. A meltdown typically begins with warning signals called rumblings, which are characterized as a build-up of emotions that cause screaming, stimming, pacing, and other behaviors that indicate the person is about to lose control, and if not redirected in time, can lead to an explosive rage.

    Managing autistic meltdowns can be extremely difficult. Unlike temper tantrums, autistic meltdowns cannot be lessened through rewards and bribes as the purpose of the meltdown isnt to obtain something. There is no end goal other than gaining control over an overwhelming situation, and it takes time for parents and caregivers to figure out how to calm an autistic child, and how to prevent such behaviors from occurring in the first place.

    Relate It To What Your Child Likes

    You can use your childs interests to make the medicine taking process more fun. For example, you could buy a medicine box with your childs favourite cartoon character on it . You could buy a medicine taking cup with the same character. In fact anything you use to take medicine, could be changed to something that your child likes, taking their attention away from the yucky medicine!

    Shaping Or Gradual Introduction

    One standard pill swallowing instructional technique that is used for all children is called shaping, or the gradual introduction of new behaviors in small steps.

    Shaping is a term used in behavior modification therapy. Basic concept: You find the easiest possible introduction to a difficult task, and then increase the difficulty as the person has success. The successful completion of each task is rewarded with positive reinforcement.

    For pill swallowing, the process is simple. You start by giving the child water to practice swallowing on command. Then, you begin introducing small candy pills to swallow such as cake decorations. Increase the size of the pills until the child is a pill swallowing expert. This candy-shaping chart shows the types of pills you can use.

    For liquid medicine, you can start by introducing small amounts of a liquid your child is already familiar with like water or juice. Once up to the required dosage, mix in or switch to the prescribed medication.

    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

    ADHD is a common comorbidity with autism spectrum disorder., The drugs used in treatment are the same as those used for ADHD alone, namely methylphenidate, dexamfetamine, guanfacine and atomoxetine. Stimulant treatment improves the symptoms of ADHD in patients with autism spectrum disorder. Atomoxetine can assist with inattentive ADHD and patients with comorbid anxiety symptoms. The adverse effects include nausea and fatigue.

    Creating A Medication Plan

    Healthcare providers usually prescribe a medication on a trial basis to see if it helps. Some medications may make symptoms worse at first or take several weeks to work. Your child’s healthcare provider may have to try different dosages or different combinations of medications to find the most effective plan.

    Families, caregivers, and healthcare providers need to work together to make sure that the medication plan is safe and that all medications have some benefit.

    Things to remember about medication:

    • Healthcare providers and families should work together to help ensure safe use of medication.
    • Not every medication helps every person with symptoms of autism.
    • One person with autism might respond to medications differently than another person with autism or than people who don’t have autism.
    • Some medications have serious risks involved with their use.

    Liquid Medicines: How To Measure The Dose

    • Use the oral dosing syringe that comes with the medicine. This device gives the most accurate dosing.
    • If you don’t have a med syringe, buy one at a pharmacy.
    • Dosing with syringe is more accurate than a measuring cup or teaspoon.
    • Household spoons vary in the volume they hold.
    • Risk: Using household spoons causes thousands of cases of poisoning each year.

    Autism Natural Treatment Including The Right Foods & Supplements

    May 15, 2018

    Autism is a developmental disorder that initially occurs in early childhood. It generally affects a childs language, behavior and social skills in development.

    The exact cause of autism is unknown, but some reasons may include medications taken during pregnancy, exposure to toxins, infections, inflammation, leaky gut, nutrient deficiencies, food allergies and inborn errors of metabolism. Unfortunately, an autism cure is yet to exist, which is why learning about treatment for autism is so crucial.

    Some children with autism have been known to improve with natural interventions such as a gluten-free and casein-free diet. These types of diet changes are just some of the many forms of autism natural treatment that are making parents of autistic children more hopeful these days while autism rates continue to ominously climb.

    Dealing With Challenging Behavior

    If your child engages in challenging behavior during this time, avoid attempting to persuade or force your child to take the medication. Its easy to accidentally reinforce refusal by doing this. Instead, walk away from your child a short distance or turn your back to him, but keep the expectation in place. If you try one strategy several and it doesnt work, try a different one or try combining 2 or more of these ideas. If your child persists in refusing, work with a BCBA to help you problem solve.

    Did you find these tips helpful? Download the infographic to share this information with others!

    Use The Power Of Distraction

    Are Vitamins Useful in the Treatment of Autism?

    In the time leading up to taking medicine, you can help your child to take part in an activity or game that they really enjoy. About halfway through this, tell your child they need to take medicine. This could become a part of your regular medicine taking routine if it works well, so keep this in mind when choosing the activity!

    The motivation they will have to continue the enjoyable activity will hopefully encourage your child to take the medicine faster or with less fuss.

    What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorder

    There is no clear-cut cause of ASD. Some causes that are supported by research include genetic and some environmental factors. Specific genetic causes can only be identified in 10% to 20% of cases. These cases include specific genetic syndromes associated with ASD and rare changes in the genetic code.

    Risk factors include older parental age, low birth weight, prematurity and maternal use of valproic acid or thalidomide during pregnancy, among others. This field of study is an active one for reasearch.

    Calming Activities For Autism

    Managing autistic meltdowns isnt always easy, especially since each childs triggers are so different and the calming strategies that work for one child may not work for another, but incorporating different calming activities for autism into your routine is a great way to teach your child effective coping strategies.

    Mindful breathing. When a meltdown is starting to brew, your childs breathing pattern will change. Often, he or she will begin taking short, fast, shallow breaths, which can make them feel even more overwhelmed than they are already feeling. Mindful breathing is a great tool you can use to teach your child to use when their emotions threaten to take over their bodies. There are many different techniques you can try, and I suggest starting with the Bubbling Blowing Technique. When your child is calm, give him or her a so he or she can practice blowing bubbles with a wand. You child will quickly learn that if he or she blows too hard or too fast, the bubble will burst before it has time to take shape. But by blowing slowly and with purpose, he or she can blow a perfect bubble. Have your child practice the technique with real bubbles before removing the bubbles and letting him or her use only his or her imagination. Once this skill is learned, you can ask your child to blow pretend bubbles when you sense your child feeling overwhelmed.

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    Shaping The Acceptance Of Medication

    Shaping is an intervention that often works well for children who dont respond well to being pushed or pressured to complete a task. This technique breaks a task down into small steps and reinforcing each one along the way. This process requires a lot of time and patience on your part, but often results in success without a lot of drama.

    Consider the steps required for taking medication:

  • Accepting the medication in view
  • Touching the medication, cup or syringe with a finger
  • Holding the medication, cup or syringe
  • Touching the medication, cup or syringe to the lips
  • Putting the tongue to the medication, cup or syringe
  • Putting the medication in the mouth
  • Swallowing the medication
  • Start by reinforcing just the first step and then subsequent steps as your child becomes successful. This is a slow process and best not to tackle when your child is actually in need of medication. Go through this process with water colored the same color as the medication you may want him to take some day. Practicing before medication becomes necessary helps alleviate some of the stress when it is time to give your child medication.

    For more details on how to use shaping, read our post: Shaping and Your Child with Autism.

    Finding The Right Medication

    Shannon Des Roches Rosa, a co-editor of Thinking Persons Guide to Autism, says she first did absolutely everything to address her autistic son Leos violent behavior, including functional behavioral analysis to try to pinpoint his triggers and modify his environment. But by age 8, with Leo breaking TV screens with his fist and posing a danger to family members and himself, Rosa felt she had no choice but to try medication.

    She found that, as is often the case, finding the right drug came down to trial and error. She first tried Abilify, an antipsychotic found to reduce irritability and aggression; Abilify and Risperdal, another antipsychotic, are the only medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of ASD children. But when Abilify made Leo more anxious, aggressive and a different child, Rosa stopped the drug. She waited for it to get out of Leos system before trying Risperdal.

    At this point I was pretty despondent, Rosa says,but the Risperdal did what it said it would do. Suddenly, Leo could just be himself and be comfortable again. Its not clear what we would have done if it hadnt helped him keep control over his aggressive impulses. And its also not clear what we would have done if the drug also made him act unlike himself if it had zombified him, or zeroed out his emotional responses.

    Fear Of Needles Or Other Fears

    Specific fears and phobias are one of the most frequent subtypes of disorders for ASD. Children with autism are prone to common childhood fears , but uncommon fears may cause anxiety as well. A 2013 study found that 41% of children with autism had unusual fears. Some unusual fears reported by parents of children with autism include vacuum cleaners, toilets, and elevators.

    So, a child with autism may fear negative side effects of the medication or the side effects of the medication may be associated with another trigger. Fear of the toilet is one of the more common uncommon fears, so a medication with digestive side effects could exacerbate that fear.

    Therapies Covered By School Or Insurance

    Autism therapies, when paid for out of pocket, can be prohibitively expensive. Top-notch therapists can charge $60 to $100 an hour , and many therapies are most effective when provided for many hours a week. For many families, the “best” autism therapies are those that are both available and free or low-cost.

    While there are dozens of autism therapies, only a few are provided through schools or paid for through medical insurance. While these are not necessarily the only effective therapies they are, for obvious reasons, the most popular. If you’re low on funds, these therapies can be the best available. Often, in combination with other treatment types, they can be quite effective.

    How To Get Your Child To Take Medicine

    When you notice that your child only keeps medicine in his or her mouth and waits for the right moment to spit it out, then you have to come up with strategies that make the child take medication. The worst you can do is to force the medicine into the childs mouth: Chances are that the child will gradually develop a negative attitude towards the medicine or end up vomiting every time you administer the drug. Worst still, this would probably be close to child abuse in many countries! So, clearly simply forcing your child to take medicine isnt the way to go!

    The most important thing is to remain calm and work through the problem systematically.

    Here are some of the tricks and tips you can use should you discover that your autistic child refuses to take medicine. 

    The Therapeutic Alliance: Meeting On Common Ground

    Parents warned against using childrens paracetamol and ...

    Beyond questions of justification, there are excellent practical reasons to avoid overriding parental refusal in this case. Most of the early-intervention therapies for autism are highly dependent on intensive parental involvement. Forced participation is unlikely to be successful. There is evidence that family stress is an independent predictor of failure of autism therapies . Antagonizing the parents by imposing treatment may result in their avoiding Dr. Pittman or medical care altogether. Another approach, one that seeks to optimize the therapeutic alliance with this family seems much more likely to realize the desired outcome: promoting the childs short- and long-term well being.

    A therapeutic alliance is a dynamic and interactive partnership between parents and physician that focuses on negotiating mutual goals and collaborating to meet them. A powerful therapeutic alliance with parents is critical to success in pediatric medicine. At this point in the case, we know only that these loving parents and the well-meaning physician both want what is best for Dayton and that they disagree on just what that is. Behind the conflict is the mutual goal of promoting the well-being of a vulnerable child. Dr. Pittman must use this mutual goal to establish an alliance that will open the door to collaboration and negotiation.

    How To Give Liquid Medication To An Uncooperative Child:

    Sometimes a child may be resistant to taking meds that are essential. In this case you may need 2 adults.

  • If your child is old enough, explain what you are about to do.
  • Instruct the second adult to hold the child upright on his lap and gently secure the childs head.
  • Use one hand to hold the syringe.
  • With your other hand, gently open your childs mouth by gently pushing down on his chin.
  • Place the syringe behind his teeth and gently push the plunger toward his cheek. Avoid injecting liquid toward the back of his throat to prevent choking.
  • Reward your child with positive feedback such as, Good job!
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