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Old 12-12-2012, 06:49 PM   #1
Almacham
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How do you prepare your older child for vaccines?

*Disclaimer - I used to be very anti-vax and now I'm not. *shrug* I'm not going to defend or promote that view point to anybody, and I am not going to disparage anyone else for not vaccinating. My mind is made up. Just putting that out there. *

My son will be 6 on Friday. Tomorrow he is going in for his first set of shots during his school physical. He got one hep b vaccine at birth. Otherwise he has not been vaccinated whatsoever.

He's got Aspergers Syndrome and freaks out/goes into meltdowns very easily, especially when he is faced with the unknown or the unexpected. So I feel like it is better to actually tell him before he goes to the doctor, that he will be receiving a shot that day. I don't want him to have a full blown meltdown right there in the office because he feels like I deceived him and he doesn't know what's happening.

My son also absolutely freaks out over pain, which is why I'm dreading it. I mean, if he falls down and bangs his knee, he will let out this ear piercing scream and sob for 10 minutes straight that he has broken his leg. He has a huge amount of anxiety concerning pain, and he acts like any amount of pain is amplified 10x in his mind, when it happens to him. I have type 1 diabetes and he knows I take shots daily but I don't think that will make any difference to him, because it's like he understands and doesn't really care that the shots don't hurt me - he'll be much more concerned about any shots that are given to him. He just has that disconnect with other people's feelings and well being, you know. That's why I'm just kind of lost as far as how to go about all of this. If it were one of my girls it'd be real easy to say, "Hey, you know Mom gets shots every single day - it really isn't scary" and they'd settle down immediately.

How do I prepare him? What do I say? How do your older children handle it when they get their vaccines? Do you do anything special for them - give them pep talks, pain meds, act like it's no big deal and hope they play off your attitude towards it, give them a treat afterwards?

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Old 12-12-2012, 07:04 PM   #2
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Re: How do you prepare your older child for vaccines?

When my DD1 was 2, I happened to need blood work the same day she needed a shot. I took her with me to my blood draw and talked to her about the needle going into my arm while it happened. She watched and I stayed calm and told her I was OK. She didn't cry for her shot that day and hasn't cried for any shots since then.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:04 PM   #3
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Re: How do you prepare your older child for vaccines?

Would he be receptive to a social story?
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:10 PM   #4
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Re: How do you prepare your older child for vaccines?

Does he have any reason to think they hurt since he hasn't really had any and he sees you to it to yourself without pain? Not being snarky, I promise, it just sounds like you have that one advantage for this first trip.

My 5 yo dd has been vaxed since birth and still absolutely flips out no matter how we handle shots, she stays mad at me all day over it too. I just quit telling tbh, because we are going to have a meltdown no matter what and I would rather only deal with it once.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:20 PM   #5
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Re: How do you prepare your older child for vaccines?

My kiddo doesn't have aspergers or any other issues but telling him the a couple days before hand let him mull it over. By the time we were getting ready to leave for the doctors app't. he informed me he was going to be brave and not fight or cry.

As for it not hurting. I wouldn't tell him that because it may hurt. We only vaccinate because it is required for public school. I had to receive one because my job required it. It hurt like crazy. So telling him it doesn't hurt may backfire in future if it hurts him.
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:08 PM   #6
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Re: How do you prepare your older child for vaccines?

I usually tell my DD in advance and then put the focus on after she is a super brave girl she gets either a balloon or stickers and which one is she getting etc... If he has issues with pain try the numbing gel, I have never used it but have heard it's supposed to be good. Good luck!
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misskira View Post
Would he be receptive to a social story?
This is a great idea. Or role playing the situation
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:45 PM   #8
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Re: How do you prepare your older child for vaccines?

My 7-yr-old son does not have aspergers or anything, but vaccines are a major issue for him. His younger sibs handle it fine, but he flips out with shots. He goes into animalistic survival mode--complete with choking and biting me once. It was incredibly embarrassing, as I am quite strict with behaviors otherwise, but it's like he seriously goes into an animal state. I learned to bring it up in advance, talk about it, role play (where I am the patient), and then have my flu shot done before him so he can see my bravery. And bribe with ice cream afterwards
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:50 PM   #9
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Re: How do you prepare your older child for vaccines?

Thanks, ladies! I think he'd be receptive to a social story, as well as role playing. I'll see what I can do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by s@hmommy View Post
Does he have any reason to think they hurt since he hasn't really had any and he sees you to it to yourself without pain? Not being snarky, I promise, it just sounds like you have that one advantage for this first trip.

My 5 yo dd has been vaxed since birth and still absolutely flips out no matter how we handle shots, she stays mad at me all day over it too. I just quit telling tbh, because we are going to have a meltdown no matter what and I would rather only deal with it once.
Didn't take it as snarky at all. Honestly, he overheard me talking about vaccines with SO a few weeks ago and flipped out because he said it was going to hurt and he didn't like it.

I have no clue how he is so certain that it's going to be terribly painful. He has an extremely active and sharp mind for a child his age, and he worries too much about things that other kids his age don't seem to concern themselves with. Once he is convinced of something, that's just the way it is, in his mind - he's very "black or white" so to speak. I think it's all part of being on the spectrum. He's going to get some help to deal with all of that, but right now he's very newly diagnosed - we have a lot of appointments coming up to get him some help.
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