First of all, knowing when you need to use the toilet is different from acting on what you know. Many autistic kids have the sense of elimination urgency. But not all. This is the feeling of heaviness/pressure in their lower abdomen or rectum. How do we know that they know? Because we see them crouch…… Continue reading How do You Get a Child with ASD to Know When They Need to “GO”?
What does it take to get a child with autism to completely independently, and calmly, use the toilet in a public place? Solid skills at home, comfort with being in an unfamiliar bathroom, and no option of using a Pull-Up. Get your child so good at using the bathroom at home that they could…… Continue reading Can Your Autistic Child use the Potty in a Public Place Yet?
No parent wants to think about this subject. Not one. But it is essential to realize that abuse happens. The statistics are concerning. The majority of abuse continues to happen in the same locations as for neurotypical kids: the child’s home, relative’s homes, and the homes of family friends. But because autistic children also…… Continue reading Reduce Your Autistic Child’s Chances of Being Sexually Abused by Toilet Training Them
After writing The Practical Guide to Toilet Training the Autistic Child I got a lot of feedback on how great the book was. And how long. It seems that some professionals and a lot of parents are so crushed for time that they wanted a “Cliff Notes” version (showing my age, I guess…!) So I decided…… Continue reading Make Life with Your Special Needs Child Easier: The Special Needs Toileting Handout Pack is Finally Here!
You will need to address your own sleep skills. This is more than the classic “Put your mask on before trying to place a mask over your child’s mouth” on an airplane. Raising a child with autism is a lot of work. A lot of love, but a lot of time and effort. Nothing is…… Continue reading The Secret Weapon To Get Your Autistic Child Sleeping Better
Toilet Training a child with autism is not easy. It just got easier. The Practical Guide to Toilet Training the Autistic Child: Sensory-Motor Secrets for Success is finally done! I wanted to share everything I have learned as a pediatric occupational therapist for over 25 years. And everything I have learned from families…… Continue reading The Practical Guide to Toilet Training the Autistic Child: From Diapering Differently to Using Public Facilities
It isn’t that parents and professionals think potty training an autistic child will be easy. They know it could be a challenge and it could take longer than training a neurotypical child. They simply don’t expect it to be so consistently tough and to have so many unexpected twists and turns. Some of them can…… Continue reading Why Does Autism Create so Many Toilet Training Struggles for Kids (and Their Exhausted Parents)?
Hydration…a fancy name for drinking enough water. It could be the key to successfully potty training an autistic child. Why? Because if nothing much is going in, or nothing healthy is going in, nothing good will come out. A child who has a history of struggling to nurse or feed from a bottle often turns…… Continue reading Why Hydration is Your Superpower When Potty Training an Autistic Child
Families ask me to come to their homes and teach their autistic kid how to correctly brush and floss their teeth. As an occupational therapist, I know good tools can do half of my work for me (Shush: don’t tell anybody that it isn’t always my many years of training and experience that make the…… Continue reading Toothbrushing Tools For Autism That Work!
Novelty can be very difficult for kids with autism. Very. Difficult. Learning a new skill is only one type of novelty in the life of an autistic child. But it can go badly, and without much warning. The meltdown from being asked to switch things up can be substantial. Mostly out of proportion to…… Continue reading A Simple Strategy to Manage an Autistic Child’s Fear of Practicing New Skills
Over a few decades of being a homecare OTR, I have seen a lot of different reactions from parents. And received a lot of different requests. The most honest ones are from parents who think their child is constantly defying them. They would like some pointers so they can stop wishing they were on a…… Continue reading When Your Child’s Defiance is Coming From Being Neurologically Disorganized
Toilet training for kids with ASD is complex, and it can take a while. But while you are working on developing communication skills and increasing sensory tolerance, don’t forget to work on clothing management. WHY? Autistic children tend to have difficulty quickly and accurately sensing urgency. Unless you are glued to their side, and…… Continue reading Why Teaching Dressing Skills is Essential to Potty Train Autistic Kids
In many ways, kids with ASD are much the same as all children. They laugh, they play, and they need to learn basic self-care skills. They push your limits, and they warm your heart. Toilet training isn’t one of those warm-your-heart events. Potty training, all the way to full independence (where you don’t tell them…… Continue reading What’s So Different About Potty Training An Autistic Child?
Most toddlers getting their first haircut are known to fidget and squirm around. Some cry. But they grow up, and out, of their fear and distress. If your child has sensory sensitivities or sensory modulation issues, haircuts stay difficult-to-torturous for a much longer time! Confusion, fear of strangers, and stubbornness don’t elicit the same…… Continue reading How To Help Sensory and Autistic Kids Cope With Haircuts
The parent of one of my clients recently returned from a conference related to her youngest child’s genetic disorder, and she told me that the presentation on helping the siblings of special needs kids really only offered one niblet of advice: “Try to give each sibling 10 minutes a day of “just us” time.”…… Continue reading How an Occupational Therapist Can Help The Siblings of Special Needs Children
Binaural beat technology isn’t new. But it is powerful. This post is designed to answer some questions about how it works, why it works, and how I use it effectively in the treatment of sensory processing issues. For people who have read about or tried Quickshifts Quickshifts: A Simple, Successful, and Easy to Use Treatment…… Continue reading Binaural Beats and Regulation: More Than Music Therapy
When you see it, it looks like Helen Keller crossed with a Roomba. A child enters a space, even a familiar space, and runs the perimeter without stopping to play or examine things. They may trace the room with their fingers, or repeat this process many times before they “land” and engage in some kind…… Continue reading Does Your Child Hate Big Spaces? There is a Sensory-Based Explanation for all That Complaining
I spend a lot of my work week with toddlers, and they can be a challenge. One minute sunny, the next screaming because their cookie broke. Special needs toddlers can have a ‘tude as well, but many professionals sweep it under the rug. They tell parents that this is normal, and that they should…… Continue reading Does Your Special Needs Child Have a “Two-tude”? Its Not Just the Age; Its Cumulative Frustration Minus Skills
I love Halloween, but not everyone does. Kids with sensory sensitivity top THAT list! The strange transformation of their classrooms, homes and yards aren’t exciting; they are disorienting. The masks and loose costumes? Pure Hell. But at least here in America, it often seems like it is almost unpatriotic to shun this holiday unless you…… Continue reading Halloween is Coming: For Sensory Sensitive Children, It’s No Celebration
If your special needs child isn’t experiencing a medical reason for incontinence (infection, blockage, neurological impairment) then you might be facing one of these three common roadblocks to total training success: Your child has limited or incomplete interoceptive awareness. What is interoception? It is the ability to sense and interpret internal cues. The distention of…… Continue reading Not Making It To the Potty In Time? Three Reasons Why Special Needs Kids Have Accidents