Today, I’m sharing my experience of taking an Autistic child for blood tests. Sam is 4 years old. He has autism, sensory processing disorder and is non verbal. He also has a huge fear of doctors and people in scrubs, thanks to his trips to A&E for treatment following injuries he’s picked up during meltdowns.
You can imagine how anxious I was when his paediatrician told me they really needed to do blood tests due to his food aversions to check his vitamin levels…. I spent weeks dreading the appointment. I made hubby take the afternoon off work so he could come with us (more for emotional support for me, than anything else).
Taking an Autistic Child For Blood Tests
The day arrived, and we headed off to the clinic for the appointment. Once in the treatment room, I had to sit on a chair with Sam cuddling me and me clinging to him in a bear style hug. They then put the band on his arm to bring his veins up, and all hell broke loose. He screamed, kicked out, bit me, head butted me and ripped his arm from the nurse several times.
His daddy held onto one leg to prevent him injuring anyone, another nurse held onto the arm a 2nd nurse was attempting to take blood from, while a 3rd nurse blew bubbles(!) I cried. And cried. And cried as I cuddled my baby like my life depended on it, and tried to reassure him.
The entire thing took 5 minutes, and Sam calmed down 5 minutes after we left the room. Me? I still feel sick with guilt 3 weeks later. The feeling of knowing you’ve consented to the procedure which is causing your child so much distress is pretty grim. Guilt doesn’t really cover it.
The nurses really were experts though. They got in, did what they needed to do and got out, as quickly and efficiently as possible. I can’t believe how fast they found a vein and drew blood, all things considered.
We still haven’t had the results through, and are waiting on his paediatrician to contact us to discuss what happens next. This was Sam an hour after the procedure was carried out…
I’m not sure why I’m writing this post really.
Perhaps as a sort of therapy for myself? I don’t think it’ll help other parents about to take their child for the same procedure – it’s not exactly reassuring is it?
I guess the fact the nurses were so good, and Sam recovered so quickly are reassuring to some degree?
My advice if your Autistic child needs blood tests is take someone with you who can:
A). Drive you home afterwards
B). Make you a cuppa
C). Give you lots of hugs.
If you’re anything like I am… You’ll need all of the above!
Finally, if this taking an Autistic child for blood tests post has been useful, check out more of our Autism blog posts here.