How do I get my autistic son to swallow pills or take his meds??

Amy - posted on 07/28/2009 ( 46 moms have responded )

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He's 5 yrs old and he's had strep throat and various other health issues and I can never get him to take him meds. Now the drs think me may have Lyme disease and we'll have to do an aggressive round of antibiotics and I just have no idea how the heck I'm going to be able to get him to take it. Liquid he just spits out or will throw up after and pills... he won't even try it. HELP!

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Jacke - posted on 07/31/2009

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Amy, I am in the same boat...I've done the crushing and the dissolving and the faking him out....NONE of it works. My son literally smells EVERYTHING before he puts it into his mouth, so he immediately would sense that there was something off with his tea or applesauce. It had gotten so bad at one point that he actually stopped eating applesauce, which is one of the things he eats on his limited diet! I have ended up in the ER too many times and my son always ends up on IVs or rectal meds.....he will not take anything orally. It's so very tough and i hope the drs can figure this out to get him treated in a way that will benefit you and him! Good luck!

Deana - posted on 08/01/2009

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i crush my son's pill in with a lil dab of applesauce crushed up so he don't even know and he takes it or i have put it in his drinks.. iknow it worls for me i try it with things he likes alot cuz this seemed to me the only wya i could get it into him...good luck...

Maria Theresa - posted on 08/10/2012

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You must keep trying..dont hide it just tell him it is good for him...do not take conventional antibiotics....contact a DAN doctor or your local TACA group....
Try coating the tablet in oil and get him to look up..tiggle his throat and make a funn y game of him...he will look for those tablets himself after you leave them down..

Tanya - posted on 08/13/2009

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I put mine son's meds whole in his applesauce. Before that in hs pb&j (sprinkled thats is) Or I have even put in an elbow noodle after its been cooked with his mac and cheese!

Get creativeIf you think about it youll find your own nitch. Suggestion make sure you request pill form in all meds

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Mike - posted on 11/29/2013

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I tried the shots since liquid and pills were not going to happen.
Now he is afraid to leave the house thinking he is going to get a shot.
Sorry this dosen't help but Im in hell as well.

Courtney - posted on 11/27/2013

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I see it's been a while since the original post, but hopefully someone else is looking for an answer. My daughter is 5 & an Aspie. She also was just put on medication for mild absent seizures. Our neurologist suggested sprinkling the medicine in something sweet like a cupcake to disguise the taste. This worked well but I hated giving her even the mini cupcakes twice a day. Plus she didn't always eat them. I have had much success with taking a baby spoon of flavored icing & mixing the medicine in that. She doesn't communicate much but she will go to the fridge & say icing when she knows it's time for her meds. I know icing isn't the ideal method but giving as little as possible it does get the medicine down. Liquids are another story. An all out battle. She held the liquid in her mouth for an hour yesterday before finally swallowing it. That was only because she coughed & it went down by accident. We were literally both in tears over that battle. Same thing today. I'm to the point of just taking her in for a shot each day just to get the medicine down.

Pamela - posted on 01/06/2013

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I continue to struggle with this.. When my son was young and needed an antibiotic we would have to papoose him and force it, it was awful for everyone involved. Now he's almost 13 and takes a med for anxiety, its a tiny pill that I crush and put in a little ice cream. That's worked well all along but now he needs to take a seizure med and the pill is huge and rather bitter when crushed. He has spit it out and pulls the tiniest of pieces that remain on his tongue out. we tried it in pudding thinking it might be easier to swallow quickly. then we tried to reason with him that and we tried to get him to swallow the pill whole in the pudding he wouldn't taste it and we still struggle. That reasoning didn't really work...

Mary - posted on 12/22/2012

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My daughter has AS. she also has sensory processing disorder. Getting her to take liquid Meds was a huge struggle as she can't stand anything with a fruit flavor, so chewable, anything is out, also because of the texture. I tried crushing the pills in applesauce, but that just made her hate applesauce. Pudding worked sometimes. When she had strep throat I would have to force her to drink it, in between gagging, then give her an Oreo real fast to get the taste out of her mouth. She's 12 now and finally good at swallowing pills, as long as they are not too big. I'm so glad those days are over.

Tracey - posted on 12/19/2012

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I have a son that is on pills and he had just started this year taking pill right and he is 14
Here is some ideas.
Crush in jam apple sauce est
My son hads autism as will
You will find want works for him good luck and best wishes

[deleted account]

Liquid put it in a small amount of slurpee or ice cap. The kid will be like wow mom what a treat !! Pill crush it up and put it in apple sause. works for my son who advoids meds of any kinds. Ive tried it all so i know juice does not mask certin flavors enough kids can tell the different tastes. This works ;)

Claretha - posted on 12/10/2012

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This sounds perfect for my 3yr old autistic son....thanks so much and he loves airplanes

Erin - posted on 11/23/2012

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I don't know how big the pills are but I take a star burst, cut a whole in the middle of it and slip the pill into it, my son takes it no problem.

Brenda - posted on 11/22/2012

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I sometimes can get my daughter to take the chewable antibiotic tablets by crushing them and sandwiching them between Hershey bars. I hold the smooth side of the Hershey bar over the stove. When my fingers get to warm the chocolate is soft enough to smush the crushed tablet into it. I soften another and sandwich the medicine in between. I then have an over sugared kid, but the antibiotic goes in. I put her daily supplements in chocolate soy milk, but antibiotic is too bitter.

Carol - posted on 09/06/2012

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My son did the same things. See if they can find a way for you to give him his meds rectally. Its not fun but the only way I could get my son the medicine he needed. I hope this helps you!!

Donna - posted on 08/13/2009

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my son is two years old and he wouldnt take his medicine. which is melatonin in pill form. doctors suggested we put the pill in a youghurt or something along them lines, but everytime we tried, he would find the pill and then there was hell to pay. i tried everything.but nothing worked, until one night i was at the end of my tether and i sat him down and explained that he needed the pill and i showed him that the pill had to go in his mouth, then he would need a drink and then he had to swallow and it goes into his tummy. he took it straight away. which shocked me cos of having weeks of screaming fits. he just took it. then i tell him that i need to take my tablet now, then i pretend to take a tablet. this has worked for me cos i think with all the other ways it was a shock for him to find it in his yoghurt when its should be smooth in his eyes. i think cos i say i need to take my tablet. makes him think he isnt the only one who needs the pills. but i do only pretend to take a pill. lol. i hope this helps, but i confident that you will find a way thats suuitable for your son. goodluck xxx

Shannon - posted on 08/13/2009

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If all of these wonderful suggestions don't work, I found success also with putting the pills a little at a time in a spoonful of sugar water. Let them dissolve down some (if the pill isn't time released). My autistic child takes pills easily now at age 11, but at that age putting the pills in food worked wonders!

Chrissy - posted on 08/12/2009

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Does your son like yogurt? My son loves Trix yogurt. I usually give him medication in pill or capsule form, and mix it up in his yogurt.

Veros - posted on 08/12/2009

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Try a suppository ( i know gross) also some compounding pharmacies might make something that will work. Like a gel gap, really, really smal pill or gummy bear type thing, etc. Also Kirkland laboratories have great products and the DAN association has some ideas on line as well. Good luck

Kelly - posted on 08/12/2009

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Luckily, this was never a problem I had. I just looked him square in the eye, told him he'd swallow it, and he did! (I wish every battle went that easily). As a pharmacist, I know that it's hard to get normal kids to swallow pills, let alone those who are special needs. Practicing with candy is not a bad option. M&M's are a good size to try and the sweet coating helps. Once they are used to the idea of swallowing without chewing, it becomes easier. Other tricks: use a carbonated beverage to help them (the carbonation tickles the throat so they can't feel the tablet or capsule) Or use a strongly flavored beverage like grape juice or chocolate milk. This works especially well with tablets that are chalky and taste bad on the tongue. It also helps to take a sip of the liquid then pop the pill in your mouth and swallow that. The pill will float and not touch the tongue or throat. Lastly, don't lose patience. Keep trying with the candy "pills". It is best if the child learns to swallow pills early. The longer you go, the harder it will be to get them to swallow.

Catherine - posted on 08/09/2009

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Hi!

My name is Catherine and I also have a daughter with Aspergers. My daughter always fights me on taking her meds. I don't know how old your son is, but it may be helpful if you crushed it up in his favorite food. I find that applesauce works great.

Michelle - posted on 08/08/2009

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Sorry..another thing..with some children it may not be a good idea getting them to associate sweets with pills. They need to know that there is a difference and the wrong choice is going to cause harm

Michelle - posted on 08/08/2009

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The only way I found to get this right was to play the "aeroplane game" I crushed the tablets, put them in a liquid a using a disguised syringe (I pasted a picture of an aeroplane over the syringe) and then the jet was sent on fuelling and re-fuelling mission all over the world. The missions were fun..but I must warn you that sometimes even mom had to be the re-fuelling station....AAAhhh the lengths we will go to..but it worked. I have even used games like this for clean-up time and bathtime.

Christina - posted on 08/04/2009

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The antibiotics that we gave our kids were flavored like candy so I didn't really have a problem, but I do know a group of very knowledgable people on this sort of subject. They are on Yahoo Groups and are called sac-autism-biomed. They are a local group in our area, but I bet that they could easily help with a question like this. Good luck, and I hope this helps . . .

DeAnna - posted on 08/03/2009

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Our Dr. told us to start out with tic tacs and it worked!!! We pulled the capsule apart too, but tried putting the pill in applesauce, with milk, in eggs, everything, but the tic tacs worked.

Laura - posted on 08/03/2009

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We used to have to crush up pills, place the pill into a "plunger" (a needle-less syringe from the pharmacy) and mix with Hawaiian Punch. We would squirt it into the back of his throat so that he couldn't spit it out. Now that he's12, he will take pills easily.

Tracey - posted on 08/03/2009

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there are pharmacies that will actually "compound" meds not just add some flavoring. a good pharmacy will look at the medication and know which flavors will mix well not just give you a list andd tell you to pick a flavor. the wwron g combos are almost as bad as the med by itself. also ask the dr for a better tasting med. my son once had a med that ( i swear) tasted like a dishwasher soap -not even the water, just the soap. it was gross. we told the dr we were forcing it and he was still spitting it out and the dr change meds right away. there are thousands of meds out there. more than one will work on ur child. u gotta find which one works for him and that means getting him to take it. my son is ok with his meds now. remember it may not only be the taste. my son was actually allergic to one of the "safest" seizure medicines out there. it tooks weeks before we saw the physical side of it . there was no doubt it was an allergic reaction once it finally showed itself. very guilty about forcing some of it on him.

Lilian - posted on 08/01/2009

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I am a social worker with a child protection agency. I have a few children in care who are autistic. One 17-year-old in particular who is severely autistic. I work closely with the foster parent and we find that putting her medication in juices and sodas did not work at all for her. It just makes their drink taste bad. Some autistic children are very smart and can detect if there is something different in their drink especially if it's there favorite. We have put her medication in foods that she likes. We tried it in cheese slices, chicken nuggets, etc. and we have had success. I noticed one mom mentioned puddings and apple sauce and we have had successes with those also. All the best!

LISA - posted on 08/01/2009

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TIC TACS DONT LET HIM KNOW YOU HAVE THEM BUT WHEN HE TAKES HIS PILL TAKE 1 WITH HIM YOU'D BE SURPRISED HOW THIS WORKS THATS HOW I GOT MY SON WHO IS AUTISTIC TO TAKE HIS MEDS NOW I DONT HAVE ANY PROBLEMS . HE SEES MOMMY DOIN IT SO HE WANTS TOO MAKE A GAME OUT OF IT GOOD LUCK!!!

Deanna - posted on 08/01/2009

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The first thing you need to do is explan to your child why
he needs to take the meds, and what can happen if he does
not take them. Next you have to teach the child how to swollow pills.
Find a candy about the size and shape of his meds to do first ( tic tacs, m&ms, mini mms ect,) them. once they mastered that move to the pills.

Jodell - posted on 08/01/2009

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My son struggled with this when he was younger. At the age of 5, try setting up a token economy with him. Allow him to win tokens, points, sickers, etc... for taking his pills without a fight. If he earns a set amount of tokens, allow him to win a prize such as a private "date" with you or your husband, a special trip to his favorite park, library time, etc... Try to avoid rewarding him with toys and food. I made the mistake of rewarding my son with what started out to be small toys, ie Hot Wheels, etc... The only problem is that as he got older, the prizes had to get bigger. We are not growing money trees in our backyard! :)

Renee - posted on 07/31/2009

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We put our autistic son's pill in a spoon full of pudding for about 4 months and it worked very well..... Now at age 12, he takes his pill with water or juice

Sheree - posted on 07/31/2009

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My son with Fragile X Syndrome PDD and a seizure disorder takes large Adderall capsules that we can open and sprinkle in yogurt or applesauce. When he or my other son takes and antibiotic or Justin takes his liquid seizure medicine we tell him its his "feel better" medicine or with the seizure stuff its his "no going to the hospital medicine". He understands that enough and has been hospitalized from seizures to take it so he won't go back.
Also, we go to Walgreens pharmacy and they have several flavors you can get your antibiotics in. They also can add extra sweetner to it to improve the flavor. Ask for that at your pharmacy. Hope things work out for you and your son gets better.

Sandy - posted on 07/31/2009

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I used to have the same problem with my son when he was that age. I tried crushing the pills and put it in his applesauce. It lasted about 3 days before he caught on. He is now 14 and still refuses to eat applesauce. I had to get m-tabs or liquid for most of his meds. Thanksfully as long as I had a drink he could wash the taste out with he would take liquids. When he turned about 11 he progressed to very tiny pills instead of the mtabs. He is now at the point he can take small pills. But cold medicines and such he still needs liquids because the pills are too big. It has taken a long time but we are getting there. Hang in there as best you can, it will get better.

[deleted account]

I have had some moms cut open a popcylce and then add the meds or vitamins then freeze them but some meds will change if you freeze them you would have to ask a pharmacist. My son is about the same age and it is shameful to say this but this is the only thing that works. I fix him a bottle and mix all his supplements and vits etc... and give it to him at 530 in the morning. He takes it and drinks it without waking and doesnt say a word. This is the only way I have gotten his antibiotics down too. If he wont do this there are compounding pharmacies that could make some of his meds in to suppositories. Its a horrible way but it could be inserted after he goes to sleep and sometimes we have to get it in for their own good. Good Luck and God bless

Sharon - posted on 07/31/2009

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His favorite food....you may have to mix it up with it and get him to take it. Luckily, my autistic son doesn't have a problem taking his meds......and never has. But even kids without autism some times won't take meds. So best to just mix it with his favorite food or drink.

[deleted account]

hi not sure if it will work for you I bought the carob chocolate melted a little / not to hot /added crushed pill put into mould let set then gave treat my son son and daughter thought they were neat because don't usually have choc. good luck it's hard but some things we have to do

Lee Etta - posted on 07/31/2009

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My pediatrician said if it is a small pill you can try and have them suck it through a straw. I had never heard of this and I didn't need to do it but I think a child might think this is pretty cool to do so they might not fight it. My son just turned 9 and it is still not easy for him to take a pill, he almost cries at the mere thought! He is being evaluated for Asperger's.

Jessica - posted on 07/29/2009

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when my son first started on his meds i started out putting the pill in apple sauce or pudding. something like that that he could just swallow and didn't have to chew. and pretty soon he got used to swallowing the pill and now he will put it in his mouth and swallow it with a drink of water. but in my opinion the best way for you to help your son is like i said to put the pill in either a spoon full of apple sauce or pudding that way it will also help the pill go down easily. and because my son was kind of afraid to take the pill i would tell him that it was his "have a good day pill" and that when he swallowed it he would have a good day and he still calls it that. :) good luck

Amy - posted on 07/29/2009

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With my son, if its gel caps i open them up and disolve them in his drink, or you could chop up little pills and grind them down and hid them in pudding or something he likes. Now that hes 9 he has Its not an issue so much just ocassionaly. With liquids i always have a drink ready so he can wash the taste right out. I know its though but hopefully he outgrows it. best of luck to you

Lissette - posted on 07/29/2009

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My son refuses to take any medicine as well----and there's no way of tricking him. Early this month he had a very bad infection and needed antibiotics---so I asked the doctor to give him shots. It sounds kind of mean---but it was the only was I knew he was going to get the medicine into his system--for sure. He had to get 2 shots on one day--then go back the next day for 2 more. The treatment for Lyme is probably more aggressive than that--but it might be something to consider. I hope everthing turns out well !

Cyndi - posted on 07/28/2009

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there are medications in liquid form. pill crushes are good. mix with pudding or apple sauce

Terri - posted on 07/28/2009

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Crush the tablets or open up the capsules and mix into his/her favorite pudding or applesauce. They will never know what went down! Hope this helps!

Laura - posted on 07/28/2009

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I hear you. You're in a tough spot. I tried from mixing it with my daughter's favorite drinks to sometimes just forcing it. I know it sounds cruel, but it's the only option when you have tried and failed at just about anything. My daughter is 6 and loves soda pop. So lately, when she has medicine to take, I let her do a sip of medicine and a sip of soda. I pour about 1/4 of a cup of soda to make sure she's not drinking too much. I don't allow my girls to drink any soda pop, so for my daughter this is quite the treat. I'd just try to find something your son can't live without and use it to do some convincing. Again, you are in a tough spot. Wish you the best!

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