Autism Life: 6 Tips to Make a Blood Test a Little Easier

Autism Blood Test

Blood Test and Book Hunting

What a wild goose chance. We decided to do some blood work through Zakari’s naturopathic doctor. I want to make sure we have the right doses of the supplement that we are using through the Dr Amy Yasko Protocol. I also needed to get my blood work done from my physical appointment. So we got Wesley off to school & Zakari and I went to my home town to pick up my mom. I was fasting for my test, so I was in a hurry to get it done so I could eat.

Test We Were Having Done & Why

Back in 2017 when we had blood work done for the IAHP. There were a few levels that were borderline and because Zakari is so tiny we decided to redo the test because the threshold should have been lower due to his age and size.

Lab Visit #1

We arrived at the lab and I went in to place us in line. My mom stayed in the van with Zakari. Its just a lot easier then trying to manage him in the lab. I knew as soon as he figured out why he was there he would get upset. So they called me up and I had my blood drawn. Once I was done, I went the car parking lot to get Zakari while they prepped the tubes they needed.

When I came back in with him I saw the two lab techs frantically calling other labs on the phone. Turns out they didn’t have one of the tubes required to take blood for one of the test we required done. We were told we needed to go to their main lab on the other side of town. However my mom had a dentist appointment we needed to take her too, so it would have to wait till the afternoon.

Lab Visit #2

After my mom’s dental appointment and lunch, we drove to the other end of town and found the lab. I ran in and explained the situation. I would need help restraining him, but once he was restrained they should be able to get the blood no problem. Of course her lab partner was out for lunch. We were told to come back in 45 mins.

Killing Time Book Hunting at Once Upon A Child

So back to the van I go. Its not a lot of time to do much. So I decided to go to Once Upon A Child and quickly look through their books. I’m glad I did as I found the many cheap books for Wesley & Zakari.

Full Book Haul can be found here at Once Upon A Child Haul .

Lab Visit #3 Finally Getting Somewhere

Once again we drove back to the lab. I was told by one of the lab techs that we would try to take the blood, but if it got too dangerous they would have our form transferred to children’s hospital, but there I would have to pay them directly. She wasn’t sure how much it would cost. I didn’t like that idea, I like knowing what I’m going to pay before I go. Nor did I want to drag him to children’s hospital. If I had known that was an option I would have went there first thing that morning. I would have called ahead to have the prices confirmed.

But they agreed to try, so we went back to the room. The woman I had been talking to seemed confident, but her partner seemed very nervous. The confident tech asked the nervous one if she would like to take the blood or help hold his arm still. She said she’d rather take his blood.

Drawing Blood

So I got him into the position and the confident tech held his arm still. Before the nervous tech started she asked us 3 times if we were sure we had him. We assured her we did. Zakari was screaming before she even touched him. She was able to get the blood first poke using a butterfly needle, which was a blessing in itself. I rotated between comforting Zakari and praising the nervous lab tech.

Zakari looked at the nervous tech and screamed, “I’m crying you know!!” Leave it to my kid to know which tech to make feel bad. Overall he was not thrashing or fighting too hard. He knew we had him so he had given up. But he was going to make sure we knew how he felt.

We were just about to fill the last tube when the confident tech told the nervous one to pull the tube out because the blood coming up the long tube was partially clotted. We now had to poke the other arm…

Can She Do It Again?

The confident tech asked me if I would like to give Zakari a break, I told her I would love to but it wasn’t a good idea. I would never get him back in the position again if I let him go. We needed to just get it done so we could leave. But now I was nervous, the nervous tech was visible shaken. Could she get his blood on the first poke again?

The confident tech grabbed his other arm, I made sure I had his body still and my legs wrapped around his legs. Once again we assured the nervous tech we had him. Lone be hold she got him again the first try. We were able to get the extra tube we needed of blood.

All Done, Time To Go!

Once we were done and I let Z go he started calming down right away. I always feel so bad holding him down for blood work, but its for his own protection. He said thank you and I brought him to the van. My mom stayed back and waited for my health card.

The Blood Work Was Done! Amen!

6 Tips For Taking A Child With Autism For Blood

Don’t go alone: 

Try and recruit someone to come with you to be extra hands. Even if they can’t physically help when it comes to drawing the blood. They can wait in the car with your child while you go in to talk to the lab tech. They can help you with your belongings, or wait for documents you need while you get your child out of the lab as soon as possible. Now if they can stomach helping you thought the actual blood being drawn that is a BONUS.

Have the child drink lots of water:

Have your child drink lots of fluids before you go, clear water if they need to fast. This will make the veins easier for the lab tech to find and easier to puncture. You do no want your child to have more pokes then necessary or veins collapsing before they have the blood they need.

Explain the situation to the Tech before bringing your child into the lab:

Run in or call before your child goes in. Explain to the lab that your child has autism and they will likely need more then one tech to help. This way they can plan to have at least two people available to help before you bring your child back to the blood draw room.

Go to a Children’s hospital if you Can: 

If I knew this was possible for these blood test I would have call our local children’s hospital and found out the prices. These techs are use to working with sick children in the hospital that often have their blood drawn daily and are scared to death. They usually have way more experience and are ready for all situations when it comes to children with autism. Very little explanation is needed with them.

Social Stories: 

Now with this one you have to be careful. If I had prepped my son with social stories it might have made the situation worse, as he would have expected it. Some kids this is very helpful. If they understand, how and why they are more likely to cooperate.

Setup A Reward & Make It Good:

Explain to your child you will go to get a treat, see a movie, play at their favourite park, etc. For us we took my son for French Fries after.

What do you do to make a blood test a less traumatic experience?

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