Teaching a Child With Autism To Swallow Pills

April 01, 2021

Teaching a Child With Autism To Swallow Pills

Teaching a Child With Autism To Swallow Pills

More often than not children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) simply refuse to eat certain foods because of ultra sensitivities to tastes or even textures. This can include the swallowing of medicine, vitamins, and other supplements in capsule form. This is a cause for concern because it makes it much more difficult for these children to get the proper nutrition they need in order to function at their best. In this 2-minute article we are going to go over the methods for teaching a child with autism to swallow pills. 

How To Teach a Child With Autism To Swallow Pills 

Unfortunately, many families give up prematurely on teaching their children to swallow pills. In fact, most children can actually learn this skill when given the proper amount of time and patience and of course, some guidance. Here at Fitore we have fun a lot of helpful resources. One of our favorites is the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System website, www.pillswallowing.com. In addition, speech pathologists, occupational therapists and some other behavioral specialists have expertise in this area. Below is a list of some behavioral strategies that we, Fitore recommended to our Spectrum + members. 

  • Pair a difficult task, such as taking medicine, with your child's favorite activity like swinging, playing a game, computer time or simply playing a favorite song with taking their Spectrum + daily supplement. 
  • Create a daily schedule that includes the taking of Spectrum +. Children with autism spectrum disorder often benefit from a predictable daily schedule. Including Spectrum + in that schedule makes the task of taking capsules more predictable and your expectations clearer for your child.
  • Use visual support (do it with them) to help a child understand the daily Spectrum + routine. For instance, visual support can help a child learn each important step to swallowing a pill and can even be used to help make the connection between taking Spectrum + and getting to enjoy their favorite activity (by showing a picture of your child taking Spectrum + paired with a picture of their favorite activity).

Know that taking medicines and Spectrum + the traditional way (via swallowing the capsule) does tend to get easier over time. The earlier you can start teaching these skills and employing helpful behavior strategies the sooner you can help ensure your child’s long-term health. If your child simply refuses time and time again to take their Spectrum + supplement you can open the capsule and mix the Spectrum + powder into their favorite food or beverage. We do recommend, however, if you opt to opening the capsule that you mix Spectrum + into their favorite food rather than beverage for increased absorption. If you have any questions please reach out to our customer support team and we would be happy to help! 

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