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Monday, April 25, 2005

April is Autism Awareness Month - Day 25

Potty training can be difficult when you have a child that is not able to communicate their needs. Who am I kidding, all kids can be difficult but autism does have a few extra wrenches thrown in.

We started the process just before Joshua turned 3 and he took to it right away. He totally understood what he needed to do. The problem came when it came time for him to just do it. He needed help but was not able to tell us.

At times we had some success using a picture of a toilet that he could give us. We were not having luck consistently and were beginning to become frustrated. It seemed like we should take a break for a while. After all, he was only 3 and we weren't having luck with Mitchell either.

Over the summer while Joshua was in summer school his class started potty training. They used a sensor that would cause an alarm to sound when they began peeing. Joshua was not the first child to use this so when it was his turn he knew the drill. He is kind of the "policeman" of his classroom and had been keeping track of all the buzzing.

There were a couple of accidents the first day and then something snapped. He put the sensation together with the sound and he "got it." It was exciting for us and made Joshua so proud. We continued to use the sensor for a couple more weeks just for reinforcement.

We never had a problem at home after we stopped using the sensor. The only problem he had was at Church. He had tried to tell them he needed to go potty but I guess they weren't able to understand him. He had an accident. This was very traumatic for him. It was like he felt failure on a huge level.

The next week I printed up small pictures of a toilet and laminated them. I let them know that when Joshua needed to use the bathroom he would give them a picture. I also let Joshua say that he needed to go potty so they would know what it sound like. That service he used the bathroom numerous times and by the next week it was all good. The newness of asking had worn off and there was an understanding with all involved.

I believe that with all kids there is a trigger to help when learning anything. Children with autism seem to respond well to visual and auditory triggers. Of course they sometimes don't respond well to visual and auditory stimulation. You really have to get to know the child and figure out what they will respond to. For me it can be frustrating but at the same time it's a labor of love.


At Tuesday, April 26, 2005 11:25:00 AM, Anonymous Kathy said...

I was just going through the GAO site for work and found this report on education and autism...thought you might be interested:

At Friday, April 29, 2005 1:02:00 AM, Blogger CynCyn said...

How exciting is this news? Congrats to Joshua, I'm sure he's so proud of himself! (as he should be). I'm sorry that he felt like a failure after his accident, even though it wasn't his fault.


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