While toilet training can be anxiety provoking – or just no fun – for any child, it proves particularly challenging for many children with autism.
We were in the wait room at Speech Therapy yesterday and Cody decided to show everyone in the room what we now call his Grandpa walk to the restroom. Literally if you put a walking stick in the boys hands he looks like an ‘ole man walking with his cane with his butt cheeks squeezed tightly. You may be wondering why we are struggling with this second phase of potty training when he has been trained for #1 for almost a year now. You see, we dedicated some serious hours a year ago creating opportunities for #1 by simply pushing fluids. The more opportunities meant more urination which meant creating more successes and in return he received one of his favorites at the time, Fruit Loops or his iPad as a reward until he caught on!
I made this sound so simple, but don’t forget, we put in many long hours and dedication to the master bath for quite some time last summer. You may recall my photos where we basically moved in so everything was at arm’s reach. By far one of the hardest parenting lessons to date. You can check out this read where getting peed on was a success!
Can’t do this with poop. It’s stinks (no pun intended) because you have to catch these opportunities only once a day and that is if he is regular.
What we know is most children with autism, do not learn from imitation like most kids do. When we started with his potty training, we first had to teach Cody the difference between wet and dry so he understood that feeling once we moved him in big boy undies. We literally would have items for him to touch and then he would have to select on his iPad if they were, wet or dry. The next step is when he would have accidents, he would have to feel the front of his undies to determine if they were wet or dry and tell us from his iPad. Once he had this down, we had to create opportunities to capitalize on the successes until he caught on.
Some children can find bowel movements very frightening and not understand what is happening and if its normal. Their sensory issues may heighten because it’s a new unfamiliar place, with new sights, sounds and feels to process. Cody’s sensory is different than what you and I may feel, hear or see.
We started looking at summer schedules with ABA this week and for self-independence goals this is where we will focus along with his academic and communication goals.
Not being about to go poop in public or on a potty has actually been challenging and in some cases where we end up having to go back home or where he may hold off going causing tummy issues. Last week at school, Cody’s anxiety got to a level where he just was not able to cope until he had a BM. With lots of tears and fear, he ended up not going until that early evening and stayed in is Grandpa walk most of the day. I felt for him.
Imagine all this, without being about to share your feelings and communicate them to someone too? I hate this for him but have it on the radar as a priority. We have not experienced any digestive issues since birth and at this point believe this is simply a training issue. A friend shared this TED talk this morning which inspired me to right this shitty blog. Fast forward to 3 min. 30 sec – 5:00 for a laugh!