Monthly Archives: November 2014

Transition Issues 101: Teaching an Autistic Child How To Use the Pharmacy

One of the things our kids need to know in order to have a normal adulthood is how to make the pharmacy work for them. So, today, I’m making this helpful guide.

How to teach a typical child how to pharmacy: Take them with you to the pharmacy over the years. They will observe and pick it up on their own.

How to teach an Autie child how to pharmacy: Take them with you over the years, then when they are 18, realize they haven’t paid any attention all that time because it’s boring and the store is overwhelming. Instead of panicking, follow these simple steps.

Some time ahead of the planned day, find out from the pharmacist when the slow time is and explain your goals. Use the same pharmacy for many years. This is important.
Explain to your child a day in advance that you will be learning the pharmacy the next day and ask if they have any questions. Ignore the only question they ask, which is “Isn’t that YOUR job? Pharmacies are boring.”
Tell them about the prescription you will be picking up and make a short social story about it. Ignore the eyerolling. Regardless of your status as an Autism Superparent, you are still LAME lamey lame lame.
The next day, remind your child of your plans. Give them a specific time you will be visiting the pharmacy. Ignore the complaints.
Drive to the pharmacy, reminding your child of which prescription you will be ordering and why. Ignore the fact that you are met with silence.
Upon your arrival, you will see a substitute pharmacist and a tech you are used to. Approach the counter and explain your goals, then step back and let your child order his prescription. Ignore the stink eye.
Expect the reasons why you are getting that particular prescription filled to be forgotten. The blank may or may not be filled in with some random nonsense.
Don’t say anything and don’t help. Your child will be focused on the task at hand. It’s new, and there will likely be some anxiety.
While they are getting the prescription ready, walk around and shop. A small pharmacy works better for us, one with few lines and little waits. They will call you over the intercom.
When you get there to pay, make sure he has money for the copay already. You belong in the background. A good pharmacist will be able to manage this without your help.
He will ring out and pay. As you go to the car, talk about the fact that he should always fill his scripts a week or so before he runs out of meds in case there is a paperwork issue that needs sorting or an item that needs to be ordered. Other things that need addressed, pharmacists and techs sometimes change locations. Sometimes there are substitutes, you may need to get a fill at a different location, at times there are lines. They should always use the same pharmacy so they have a regular relationship with their pharmacists and techs. These facts don’t come naturally to them, especially the fact that they need the relationship with the pharmacist.

From here on out, do these things with every prescription. Also make sure your child knows how to use the automated phone service and is familiar with the website. Ignore the complaints and ignore the question that is bound to be asked …

“Now that I know this, can we go back to it being your job?”