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Many parents of children with an Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) encounter challenges with toilet training. While every child learns to use the toilet at a different time, it can take longer for children with an ASC such as Asperger’s Syndrome.
While it’s not uncommon for these children to get there at a later age, there are sometimes certain difficulties that make the process harder for everyone involved. A good understanding of these points might help people understand and tackle the problem better.
We have lots of customers with autistic kids still in nappies, so it makes sense for us to try to offer some useful advice that we have picked up from parents we have spoken to.
The immediate needs of a child with autism have an impact on their desire to toilet train. By this I don’t mean the care they require, but rather their desire and motivation. This child is likely to have different social priorities to other children. He or she may often have trouble both communicating that they need the toilet and having the importance of proper toileting communicated to them.
They also might not understand the social impact of soiling on those around them and why others would be unhappy with this type of behaviour.
An aspect of toilet training a child with autism that can be especially challenging to cope with is the smearing of faeces. Due to the difficulty with discussing the issue that some carers face, it is easy to see why some can feel very isolated. The sensory experience associated with smearing is something that can be redirected (for example with finger paints), but it is also possible that the child does not fully understand the need to use toilet paper.
By paying careful attention to your child’s behaviour you can go a long way towards helping them feel more comfortable with the process of using the toilet. This might involve avoiding things that cause distress; desensitizing the toileting process or building on the security they feel through the following of a consistent routine.
This desire for a routine can be an important aspect to focus on, as it can also be used to make using the toilet fun. By combining familiar and enjoyable things with the learning process, and using careful communication such as clear visual cues, toilet training can go much more smoothly.
Unfortunately there are instances where the process can take much longer, and, depending on the level of severity that a child with an ASC is experiencing, they may never achieve full continence.
This makes the cases we have been hearing lately about the rationing of incontinence products on the NHS all the more alarming.
As always the best person to advise on your child's development will be a healthcare professional. But we know that sometimes it's not easy to get the help you need.
Incontinence of any degree can have a severe impact on a sufferer’s quality of life, and can have serious consequences on the social development of people such as children with an ASC.
Although a large number of incontinence cases are extremely treatable (and often completely resolvable), we are seeing a trend towards cutbacks in both staffing and resources such as nappies and pads.
With fewer high level continence specialists and less money for necessary products, we are seeing damage to healthcare staff morale, as well as patients supplementing incontinence products from their own pockets or in some cases completely self funding their usage because the NHS provision is not adequate.
Couple this with an ever-increasing number of patients seeking help because they refuse to suffer in silence any longer, and you are left with failures in the incontinence product supply that, as it is often determined by local policy, has created a postcode lottery that is failing many people (sufferers and carers alike).
Many providers do not even support what they deem to be “light” incontinence, although in some cases this does not matter as the supply of products is often regulated by their budget rather than what people need.
We have written a blog post about how to get free nappies here.
As we mentioned earlier, in many cases you won't need to use nappies for long as ASC children can usually be toilet trained, but it might take a little longer. In some cases ASC people will need to use nappies into adulthood.
This can be expensive if you are buying them privately, but the NHS can supply products for free in many cases.
Your local Continence Service might not be able to help because of the elligibility criteria, or the inflexibility of the continence service in the products they can supply.
The product you choose will depend on your child. Some children have very sensitive skin that will come out in a rash when certain products are used. Other children can be sensititve to noise, so a product with a crinkly plastic backing wouldn't be suitable.
We can advise on the best product for your child if you call us on 01636 30 20 50 or email us using the link at the top of the page.
The reason that people buy from us is that we can offer good advice and set you up with the right product for your child.
The nappies we usually supply are extra small sized adult nappies, extra small sized adult pull-up pants, extra large size baby nappies and small size adult nappies.
If you need the most absorbent product try MoliCare® Super Plus (age 9+).
If you want a nappy that's like Pampers but bigger, try Libero® Size 7
|Age||2 – 3||3 – 4||4 – 5||5 – 6||6 – 7||7 – 8||8 – 9||9 – 10||10 – 11||11 – 12||12 – 13||13 – 14||14 – 15||15 – 16|
|Most Suitable Nappy|
Abena® Abri-Form Junior XS2 (next size up from Libero Size 7)
MoliCare® Soft Extra Small (more absorbent than Abri-Form Junior)
|Size Small Adult Nappies|