#Autism and Taking Medications: Tips or Tricks -

#Autism and Taking Medications: Tips or Tricks

Tonight we experienced world war 3, while trying to get Elliott to take his bedtime medications. These consist of melatonin and his new anti-depressant. Both pills are very small. 

Elliott has no problem physically swallowing the pills.  The problem however,  has more to do with simply not liking the idea of taking the medication.

I think, at least in Elliott’s case, there is a huge element of control. 


Think about it.  As an adult, we try to control as much of our lives as possible, especially when much of our life is outside of our control. 

Imagine what it must feel like for a small child with #Autism.  I completely understand where he’s coming from and I actually support it.  I just can’t support it when it comes to something like medications.  He’s welcome to pick out his own clothes or choose his own haircut. He can even choose not to eat.

He simply has to take his medication.  We can even toss the melatonin if need be. 

However, he is so severely depressed that anti-depression medication is simply not negotiable.

Getting him to actually willingly take his medications are another obstacle.  Is it okay to force a pill down your child’s throat? We aren’t talking like antibiotics for an infection,  where it could literally be life or death.

However, depression is a serious illness as well and as bad as he’s struggling, it’s extremely important that he takes his medication.

I’ve tried rewarding him and that doesn’t always work.  I’ve tried to reason with him because he’s that kind of kids but that doesn’t always work either. I’ve even tried making something he wants to do, contingent on him taking his meds.

I’m truly at a loss as to how we address this.  We’ll meet with his psychologist on Tuesday and see what she says but that still 3 days away.

Autism is such a perplexing condition and it can have its fingers in many different areas of a person’s life.  Addressing something like taking medicine has to be handled in a more sensitive manner. There are many things going on underneath the surface and simply charging ahead and using force can backfire in a very big way. 

There are no easy answers and sometime, no answers at all. 

I thought it would be beneficial to discuss how we handle these types of things.  Maybe trade tips and tricks. 

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My daughter always took both her SSRI and her melatonin crushed and stirred into milk. Is there something he really likes you could disguise the meds in? I’ve heard of some parents using Chocolate syrup. Also with my daughter, I gave her a choice of the time, but I set the parameters by saying “Do you want to do this in 5 minutes or in 10 minutes?” Then I set the timer right there in front of her based on what she’s agreed to.


@HumptyDumpty we tried pudding tonight and found success. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.


I was so verjoyed when each of my children have gone from liquid meds to swallowing pills. The liquids taste so awful they would rather lay around with fevers than take them. I am also wondering if the pills are bothering him in his throat. I say this because I have had a gastric lapband placed and the opening to my stomach is about the same diameter as a drinking straw. I cannot swallow pills bigger than a pencil eraser. I am on zoloft and I have to cut my pills in half to keep them from getting stuck. When I have a bad day sometimes my band will swell and my pills can stuck. I get this horrible burning sensation like the pill is burning through my esophogus. Maybe he is experiencing something similar which is causing his reaction. It can almost feel like bad heartburn. If he struggles with GERD this may be the case as well. You may want to ask him about the pills if that won’t make his anxiety go off the charts. I know asking too many leading questions can have that affect. I have learned the hard way on that one! In any case you may be able to persuade him with the fact that swallowing a pill is tastier than taking the liquid form.


With Anthony, I tell him about an hour before bedtime that he needs to take his medicine. He can take it anytime within that hour to take it himself. If he doesn’t, and I have to stand there and give it to him, then the next night I give it to him right away. If there’s no fuss, then he can control when he takes it the next night. I also let him pick from whatever we have to drink with it. Sometimes it’s just between water or milk, but sometimes we have juice or chocolate milk, and then there’s the rare occasions when I have a half a bottle of soda left over from work, and he can drink that. (as long as it doesn’t have caffeine)


@AngieLuna great ideas. Thanks for sharing. 🙂


Has he been able to explain why he doesn’t want to take his medicine? Maybe if you allow him to be in control of the whole process…setting a daily alarm, taking the medicine out, choosing the drink, etc, it might be easier for him. Maybe he has trouble swallowing pills but doesn’t express that well? Try allowing him to take it with yogurt or pudding or something like that if it helps.


@Silachan that’s a good idea. He’s fine with swallowing pills though. This is a control thing. At least it feels that way. His life is very much out of his control right now.


Is there any way that you can be flexible with the time too? That way he has full control of the situations around the medicine, but still takes it.


@Silachan it has to be at night time but that’s a really good idea. Good thinking 🙂


@Silachan Perhaps before or after dinner. Something like that. Thanks

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