Potty Training an Autistic Child

Lessick - potty training 1Raising an autistic child comes with a lot of challenges. One of the biggest ones that I have faced with my ten year old son is potty training. I would read books and articles on the subject. I would go around the internet and ask questions on different social networks. In the end, I had to customize a program just for my son.

There are several different methods that are recommended for children diagnosed with autism who are having difficulty being potty trained. If your child is autistic, it doesn’t automatically mean you will have difficulties or may never be able to potty train your child. Each child is different, but there is a high percentage of autistic children that have a hard time with this skill.

One method is using a schedule. I used this method for several years, but did not have any success. I would take my son to the bathroom at the same time throughout the day, every day. His school would do the same thing. It didn’t promote independence in toileting skills, in fact, it made him more dependent on us. I have heard from other parents that using this method with their child led to independence. As I said earlier, each child is different.

Another method is the reward system. I tried this method, also. It didn’t work. I tried picture exchange (since my son is nonverbal), it didn’t work. At ten years of age, my son was still in pull-ups. Finally, I came up with the right method that my son would respond to. It was reward and punish (or give and take-away). I explained to him what we were doing and why. If he wet his pull-up, he would have one of his favorite items taken away. If he went to the bathroom without being told, he got an item back. If he went a whole day, completely independent and no accidents, he received a special reward of his choosing.

It took two weeks of reminding him to stay dry, but not telling him to go to the bathroom, before he started to make great progress. He would have days that he would lose all of his things and he would try to earn them back the next day. Around the third week, he started to go a complete day without an accident. By the fourth, he was out of pull-ups completely, no verbal reminders were needed, and trips out in public were accomplished without accidents, too.Lessick - potty training 2

The key was to find the right motivation for our son. I knew he was ready to be potty trained a long time ago. The problem was that he didn’t want to be. Once he started losing things that he loves, he realized that it was easier to go along with what he was being asked. Now that he is fully potty trained, he is so much happier. No more awful rashes that require medication to clear up. No more smelly pull-ups. No matter how old your child is, don’t give up. It is never too late for your child to be potty trained. You just have to find the right method and motivation for your child. There are other methods that have worked with children with autism. I have not listed them all. This is because I feel that the best method needs to come from what works best with your child. You are the best judge of that.

Sheila O. | Chattaroy, WA; Wed., Jul. 29, 2009

After the ambulances we will tackle school busses.

110 Child Deaths Were ‘Preventable’ – More Than Just a Headline

110 child deaths pic3A headline in the July 18th UK & World News section of the Sunday Sun read “110 child deaths were ‘preventable’.”  The article continued on to provide a bit more detail: “of 2,000 deaths recorded between April 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009, 110 were deemed to have been preventable.  The South West of England had the highest proportion of deaths which could have been stopped (15%) and the North West had the lowest (2%), according to the figures released on Thursday. ”  What terribly cold statistics for such a heartbreaking scenario as a child death.  And what an outrage – 110 preventable deaths!  How is that possible today…and in the UK?  But there is more to consider here than just these numbers …there is another message here that we can’t afford to overlook.

According to UK Children’s Minister Baroness Morgan, “Every death of a child is a tragedy and the Government is focusing relentlessly on children’s safety to drive improvements in practice and continue to learn lessons. That is why we introduced a new duty on local authorities to review ALL child deaths, enabling lessons to be learnt and actions taken to prevent deaths in the future. ”   Lessons are being learned that target all potential danger areas, from threats of abuse and neglect, to accidents, bullying and suicidal behaviour.   (Sunday Sun July 18, 2009)

The message we can’t and shouldn’t miss – is that the numbers are actually being countedSomeone is paying attention!  Minister Morgan said that “England is the first country in the world to have implemented a multi-agency reviewing system on a national basis and this first year has included a wide range of causes, from deaths due to illness and road traffic accidents to suicides and murders…It is all our responsibilities to make sure we are doing all we can to keep our children safe.”  Some may grumble and say it was a response to tragic circumstances that caused the British Government to create the current policies.  And perhaps that’s true…however I think  it’s worth remembering that tragedies occur in all our societies…  What matters is what happens next when the dust settles; we need to be able to ask ourselves have we put anything in place that demonstrates that when we say “never again” we mean it?  …and we need to answer YES and believe it.

So once again I read the headline “110 child deaths were preventable” and although I am incredibly angry that there is even 1 child death that could have been prevented I am also incredibly grateful that somewhere, someone is keeping watch over the children.  

And I pray that the lessons learned from that aren’t just in the UK.

Avoid Baby Bottle Syndrome & Keep Those Pearly Whites Forever

Babies can and do get cavities, just like children and adults.

Mayorga babybottlemouth without wordsBaby Bottle Syndrome is caused by a particular set of circumstances.

It occurs when a baby is allowed to fall asleep with a bottle in his or her mouth. If the bottle contains a Sugary carbohydrate, (like soda, sugar water, juice, formula, or milk) and the liquid is allowed to pool around the teeth, the bacteria that are present will form acid, which eventually leads to decay.

Baby Bottle Syndrome usually forms on upper front teeth and back molars first. The lower front teeth are protected by the tongue, and decay in this area is seen more often in very advanced cases.

What are the signs of Baby Bottle Syndrome

  1. You may notice you baby or child is having some tooth sensitivity. They may be bothered by sweet foods or cold foods or liquids
  2. You may see white decalcified spots or areas at the edge of the gum line. This is the beginning of Cavity formation and these will eventually turn brown just like an adult cavity.
  3. Look at your Child’s teeth, especially the front teeth top teeth. Look for signs of discoloration or pitting. These are the first signs of decay and you should seek the help of a Dentist or Pediatric Dentist immediately.

You Can Prevent Baby Bottle Syndrome!

  1. Do NOT put your baby to bed or nap time with a bottle!
  2. Do NOT Dip your Baby’s Pacifier in Honey! (yes some people do this!) Aside from being bad for the teeth, honey is contra-indicated until age 2 for children!
  3. Begin Brushing your Child’s teeth as soon as they come in! You can use a soft damp baby wash cloth. No need for toothpaste at this age as your little one will swallow it and we do not want that.
  4. Start your little one on a schedule of regular dental exams by their first birthday!

Find a Pediatric Dentist you LOVE!

It’s Ok to give your little one a pacifier and his or her favorite blanket to go to sleep. However, I would caution against even a plain water bottle as this could be a choking hazard.

Good Dental Habits start early!

So to end with a Dose of Humor.. My Mom always said to us “Be true to your Teeth, Or they’ll be False to you!”

Deanna S. | Lawrenceville, GA; Thu., Jul. 23, 2009

I am a pediatric nurse in a private office. I have to call for ambulance transport every few weeks and I always ask if they need the child’s carseat. They usually put them in the parents lap which is not safe. This would be fantastic

Furniture Safety: preventing furniture & television tip-over injuries

If you have a toddler or older child, you know the moniker “curtain climbers” is an appropriate description for most kids when they become mobile. Kids love to climb anything they can and that often includes the furniture. Dressers, entertainment centers, TV stands, all are fair game when it comes to these curious explorers. Unfortunately, kids and many parents are unaware of the potential for furniture tip-over which can cause serious injury and even death.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, “from 2000 through 2005, CPSC has reports of 36 TV tip-over-related Walker furniture story pic-finaldeaths and 65 furniture tip-over deaths. More than 80 percent of all these deaths involved young children. Additionally, CPSC estimates that in 2005 at least 3,000 children younger than 5 were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms because of injuries associated with TV tip-overs.”

So how do you keep your active child from becoming a victim of a dangerous tip-over? Furniture strapping and brackets designed to prevent tip-overs should be used on any piece of furniture that a child could climb, pull over, or knock over. Don’t be fooled by the weight of a dresser or other item of furniture. Even very young toddlers have managed to pull over very large and heavy pieces of furniture. If there is any doubt as to whether the furniture is stable enough not to be tipped over, go ahead and anchor it to the wall. Some furniture companies now include anchors, straps, or brackets with new furniture, but most do not. You may be able to find furniture straps at the local hardware or home improvement store, but if not, they can easily be ordered online at babyearth.com.

Televisions should be placed on appropriate stands and anchored in such a way that they can not be pulled or knocked off the stand or tipped over. Place the TV as far back on the stand as possible. Never place remotes or toys on top of the TV, as this may encourage climbing. Prevent a TV from sliding by using a rubber mat or grips between the bottom of the TV and the stand.

On an episode of the Ask MomRN Show, I interviewed Carri McQuerry-Funk, owner of MaddiesMessage.com, about furniture safety and her efforts to bring awareness to other parents about furniture tip-over dangers. In the interview, Mrs. Funk told of the loss of her two year old daughter, Madison Funk, who was killed by her dresser falling over on top of her as she attempted to climb it. Madison’s parents have created Maddie’s Message to warn and educate other parents, and are on a mission to prevent further tragedies.

Furniture safety is an important safety precaution parents need to add to child-proofing efforts. Take some time today to inspect and secure your furniture