Kids that don’t take pills

Many parents easily teach their young children to swallow pills. The sooner you can do this, the better. However, there are a subset of sensory or oral motor kids that just can’t seem to manage this task. It’s a very stressful for them and their parents.

That is our case. Every time we talk about helping my child learn this he gets very upset. It deeply stresses him because anytime he’s tried, it’s not ended well. He gags and/or vomits. He is very sensitive to tastes and smells. He gags terribly for tooth brushing or dental care.

Sometimes you have to pick your battles and you have to come to terms that your child just can’t do it right now. This doesn’t prevent you from chelating and giving supplements but you will have to be more creative than other parents.

We have so many more product formulations today than we had when I first started this and that has made it easier over the years.

I’m going to share what has worked for us. Maybe it will inspire you and help you find what will work for your child.  All in all, don’t give up, keep trying and make sure you taste the things you expect your child to take. I found out that often when he refused to take something it was because it really did taste horrible. So check!

When we started biomed he would not take a medicine syringe. He would scream, cry and vomit up whatever you gave him. The syringe was a very feared object for him and without any due cause since he did not have any previous experience with them.

How you approach kids like this is going to take some creative thinking and patience. A medicine syringe needs to be introduced slowly and in a fun way if you plan to use that. I detail the process I used in this blog post.

In the early days I was able to take one of those small juice boxes and remove some of the juice (so it doesn’t overflow when you add the vitamins). I would mix all the supplements into it and squirt it back into the box. For the life of me I have no idea how he drank this because it didn’t taste good but he did. Then one day it seemed like his tongue woke up and he refused to take it anymore. It is fairly common to have to adapt things periodically on this journey.

I moved to a variety of flavored and unflavored powders and mixed those into food and juice.

His night-time syringes didn’t last long for chelation either. From that point I moved to using miniature peanut butter cups to give chelator and a few of his supplements. Not all of them of course. He only gets 2 of these on any given day unless he is on a round.

When I use peanut butter cups for chelation, I add some extras things so he gets everything he needs. Vitamin C, magnesium, GSE, vitamin E or milk thistle all have passed the sensory taste test when mixed into the peanut butter filling with chelator. Many might be concerned about sugar on the teeth at night but I had to let go of this worry in order to chelate him. If this concerns you, you will need to work at figuring out what oral/motor issue is preventing capsule swallowing and find appropriate therapy.

What we are using now for supplements:

Bear in mind what I have listed here is just what my son has to be on right now.  These are the products I found that he will take willingly. I am sure they are many others you can use. (look for the best absorbed forms of a vitamin or mineral)

Most important!!! You don’t need all of these to chelate. My goal was to demonstrate that even with this list you can figure out a way to make it work. The essential vitamins for chelation are: vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium and zinc. Those can all be given in powder, gummy or chewable form except vitamin E. It does not come in any of those but the gel caps are easy to puncture and mix the oil into nut butter.

Key Points to Remember:

    • Taste it! Make sure what you are asking them to take is reasonable.
    • Magnesium citrate is bitter and hard to hide.
    • Fish oil is better flavored and cold.
    • Vitamin C powder is tart, best in juice.
    • You can add calcium powder to pancakes and baked goods
    • Vitamin A, C and E are probably best not heated or cooked with.
    • Keep your probiotics at least 4 hours away from your antifungals. (everything else can be taken as it fits into the 4x a day schedule)
    • Zinc is always better with meals. It can cause nausea otherwise although I don’t find the sublinguals to do this for us.

You will find what works for your child. Just start with the basic four because sometimes once you start chelating, taking supplements becomes easier for them. Keep in mind,  zinc deficiency can be a primary reason to refuse food and supplements, so sometimes addressing this first will help.

Most of all, don’t give up! Don’t think you can’t chelate because your kid won’t take pills. It’s simply not true.

 

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How I got my sensory kids to take a medicine syringe

My son had a lot of problems with oral motor and sensory. This made teaching him to take pills impossible. When we began biomed he was only 3 years old and self-limited his food based on smell, taste and texture. Supplementing and preparing for chelation took some work on my part to get him comfortable taking things by mouth.

At this point in time he absolutely refused to take anything from a medicine syringe. Even trying to resulted in a screaming terrified tantrum of fear for him. It is not uncommon for ASD children to have a lot of anxiety and fear, and they may refuse any attempts to give them supplements from a medicine syringe.

However, in order to chelate him I had to find a way to help him overcome this fear. In my desperation to chelate my very metal toxic child, I invented a game to help build trust and dispel his fears about the syringe.

I began by letting him play with them as if they were one of his toys. It squirted air, it was fun to push and pull and he chewed on everything at that age anyway. So some mouthing of the object did occur. All without me suggesting anything. All of which moved him closer to being comfortable with it.

From there we showed him that is was a squirter. It could squirt water into the sink and what fun it was to aim it at a bowl of suds.

Then I began asking him to squirt mommy a drink of water. He thought that was powerful and lots of fun. Eventually he let me give him a squirt of water. All in fun, with smiles and laughs and no stress about the process. I trusted him to guide me on his comfort level.

If he refused to take water or juice, I let him. I’d just have him give me the water instead. It helped that he felt some control over what would happen to his body.

Then our game progressed to putting his favorite juice in the syringe for mommy to taste. We played this game for several weeks until he was comfortably taking juice squirts from the syringe.

Mine did not go quietly those first few rounds with night doses and that led me to make the story. That led me to make him a social story. (you can download it here) It’s a brief story in very simple terms with images to help them understand what is going on and what to expect.

I figured he did not understand why I was putting this in mouth in the middle of the night. Which was probably why he was refusing and upset. Most of us are not used to be woken at 3am to drink anything.  He did learn to sleep through night doses pretty quickly thankfully.  You can also do a few “dry runs” at night with just juice and no chelator to help them adjust.

A method of all three and patience will help your little one on their way to accepting supplements from a medicine dispenser and taking their night doses.

 

As you progress, supplements decrease

Packing Supplements

Back in the early days Copyright The Edge of Autism 2010

I was looking back in our recovery journal and I had kept yearly lists of the supplements my children were taking at each year during our chelation journey.  I think it demonstrates progress in regaining health when you look at the list of supplements we need today.

The point being that as you get the toxic metals out, the body heals and works better. So you don’ t need so many supplements anymore.

This post is in no way indicative that anyone needs to take all of these or should take them all. This was the protocol as it was in 2006. Supplements were given differently than they are today, although all of them has a use in dealing with mercury poisoning.  Today the recommendation for children is far less than this but some of these have utility in treating the gut, adrenals, etc.

This was his supplement regimen at age 3 1/2 years.

  • Multivitamin/Mineral for ASD- 1 tsp per day
  • Probiotic-1-2 capsules at bedtime
  • Vitamin A-8,000 IU 1x per day
  • Vitamin E-400 IU 1x per day
  • Vitamin C-1800mg per day divided into 4 doses
  • B Complex-15mg 3x a day
  • Calcium-680mg per day
  • Magnesium 400mg per day
  • Chromium-100mcg 2x a day
  • Molybdenum 125mcg 3x a day
  • Zinc-25mg twice a day
  • Selenium-25mcg 1x a day
  • EFAs-FortiFlax 1 tablespoon per day
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract- 1/2 tablet 2x a day
  • Milk Thistle- 1/4 capsule 4x a day
  • Adrenal Cortex-1/4 of 250mg cap with breakfast
  • Melatonin-500mcg 1 hour before bed

We were dosing supplements four times per day and hiding most of them in food or juice because he could not take any capsules and refused most chewables other than gummi’s. I did add echinacea gummi’s when we started chelation because my son got runny noses and low-grade fevers in the very early stages of chelation when his suppressed immune system began working. This resolved fairly early on. These were not the only supplements my son used during our journey, just what he was on in the beginning. There were other things that were added here or there where needs came up like taurine, Immuno Aid, CLO, calcium with D, vitamin D, vitamin K, theanine, inositol…etc. These were used only as long as they were beneficial.

So what supplements does he take today?

  • MB12-1,000mcg per day
  • calcium/magnesium-1000mg/500mg 1x per day
  • a probiotic given only when needed if presenting with gas or constipation
  • CLO with A, D, E. However he’s been off these for weeks now.

When he is on rounds he gets vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin E and a bit of zinc as per the recommendations but he has reached a point in chelation where he does not required these daily. I do supplement in times of illness or if there are symptoms of deficiency for any nutrient.  We do add vitamin D in the winter, since most everyone in our family is deficient in this year round and we have had labs in the past that justify this.

He had not has symptoms of PICA off zinc in several years so this is no longer given daily at this point in chelation. He has been off of adrenal cortex extract for nearly a year now without any occurrence of adrenal symptoms.

I know that most parents hope there will be a day when they don’t have to give any supplements at all but I think in today’s toxic world with the lower nutrient dense foods that a multivitamin/mineral product might be something we all have to continue as a proactive means of covering those gaps.

I hope that some will find this motivating to see that the supplements requirements do gradually decrease. It took several years but eventually he began to need less and less.  At times it seemed like the stuff he was refusing to take, were the things he did fine without. So we slowly scaled back as time went on and he was less toxic and functioning better. In those early years if we missed his supplements you’d see regression in behavior or mood which were confirmation that he needed them. It was when we didn’t see any regressive behavior off of something that we knew it wasn’t really needed anymore.

Looking back at our supplement lists for those early years I recall how much work it was but how helpful it was.

The most promising thing here is that nothing happens to my son if he doesn’t take any vitamins. There are no regression, no re-appearance of autism symptoms, no worsening of any kind.