When people meet our son Noah for the first time, they usually recognise all he can’t do; you see he has Down syndrome and Asperger’s syndrome.
Once you get to know him though, you quickly fall in love with his sunny personality and quick wit. You just accept that he looks different and has some odd behaviours.
And we see him for what he can do. One thing he is very good at is remembering to take his medication.
We were a bit concerned about how he’d get along with taking regular medication when he started clonidine. This is a medication which helps him control his impulsivity and it’s a drug which once you’ve started you mustn’t stop abruptly as you can get rebound high blood pressure with the possibility of a stroke. So it’s important to remember to take it regularly, as with anticoagulants.
Predictability and routine
Now people with Asperger’s thrive on predictability and routine; vital traits for remembering medication.
Noah starts each day with the same breakfast and with the table laid out the same way; his two clonidine pills between a blue cup of water (for dissolving his vitamin pill) and a blue mug of milk. With his evening meal, (which he expects to have on the dot of 6 pm!) he puts out his own 4 clonidine pills, then reminds dad to take his anticoagulant and blood pressure medication.
Noah never forgets. No matter where we are, at 6pm he asks for his pills. This has sometimes been awkward if we’re on a plane or in a movie! But we’ve learned to live with that and no longer have to worry whether or not he’s taken his pills.
Just in case you’re thinking we have no problems though, let me tell you about the time that the colour of clonidine tablets was changed from blue to white. That was very, very hard!
Are you able to harness any Asperger’s like traits to help with medication adherence?
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