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How do I give an autistic child vitamins?

Asked by Monica,

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How can I give an autistic child vitamins if they do not want to swallow whole vitamins and are age 8?

Expert Bio Picture

Living Well Expert Dr. Jennifer Shu Pediatrician,
Children's Medical Group

Expert answer

Thank you for your question. Many children (and some adults) have trouble swallowing pills, especially if they are large or uncoated. If your child won't swallow pill vitamins, you may be able to use a liquid or chewable form or a powdered version that you mix with water or other fluids. Ask your doctor or registered dietitian which vitamins are most important for your child, because single-vitamin supplements can sometimes taste better than multivitamins.

Some vitamin pills can be crushed and swallowed or mixed with food, although they may taste bitter because they are designed to be swallowed whole and not tasted. Certain medicines should not be crushed before taking, however. If crushed, the medicine may not work correctly and may even cause harm (such as irritate the stomach lining or be released too quickly into the bloodstream) so be sure to consult your pharmacist before giving your child any crushed medication.

Finally, there are some pill-swallowing aids on the market that may help with your situation. These include specially shaped cups as well as gels or sprays that make the pills slippery and easier to swallow. If your pharmacist says it is OK to mix the pills with food, you can also hide them in yogurt or applesauce and see if your child will slurp them down.

Good luck!

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