Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Where is Mary Poppins when you need her?
We've been fortunate that Little Frog has always been a very healthy little guy. We've hidden a few nutritional supplements in the maple syrup on his waffle or the jelly on his sandwich and slipped the occasional 3mg of melatonin into his ice cream, but it is a rare occasion when we have to give him actual medicine. Tylenol is the most common followed by the occasional 10 day round of antibiotics. He always gets better after we administer these medications, but the thing is - rarely does enough of the medicine get into his system for me to believe it is having any real effect. I think his "recovery" is due more to the heightened sensory input he gets from the struggle to avoid the medicine or he has some amazing ability to absorb the stuff transdermaly.
I have a dear friend, another autism mom, who has taken a much more biomedical approach to Autism. She has two boys who at any given time are on a variety of meds and supplements given on a daily basis. She firmly believes that I should desensitise and use behavior modification to teach Little Frog to take his medication without the aid of dramatic hiding rituals. I agree, that when he actually needs medication, ie antibiotics, he is not getting them and the struggle is monumental. One of her sons has PICA issues and getting him to swallow things was not a big deal. Her other son was very resistant and she describes a three year process of behavior modification, reasoning, consistency, and heavy duty reward systems that have recently culminated in her son agreeing to take a new, foul tasting medicine without incident. I would love to be able to give Frog some Tylenol when he is hurting, or make sure the antibiotics actually got into his system, but his reaction to taking medication and to us pushing him are worrisome. I fear creating more problems than I solve.
Frog's inability to swallow things seems to be a sensory issue. His throat closes in an almost instinctive way. (I'm channeling Grandin now - correct bad behaviors, accommodate sensory issues). This time around, by day three, we had to chase him down and wrap him and his arms in a towel, but then he would open his mouth and let us put the syringe in - there was just nowhere for the meds to go. Even with him mouth clamped shut by us, the meds just pooled at the back of his throat. I don't think we want to completely undo this protective reflex, as it is what keeps him from swallowing the various rocks, dirt, rubber bands, toys he pushes around inside his mouth. It is also what keeps him from sucking in a lung full of water when he swims under water with his mouth open like a baleen whale.
We do continue to reason with him, and maybe I should work on that when we are not in crisis mode - daily vitamin in jam perhaps. To this point, the very act of "forcing" an issue with Frog, no mater how gently we do it, pushes him just over the edge and I don't know if he can continue to process the language adequately at that time to engage in "reasoning". Also, with the language issues, I don't know if my reasoning is addressing his actual concerns and is therefore valid or persuasive in his mind. I do think that if I could come up with a new preparation to replace the pink suspension, that would not require two teaspoons of liquid, I could make a killing! Spoonful of Stevia anyone?
Does anyone have suggestions, opinions, or experiences that might help me decide what my next course of action should be?