Parents of a child with autism may face difficulties trying to potty train their child for a number of reasons. The biggest challenge when potty training your child is actually knowing when your child needs to use the bathroom, which may serve as an even larger obstacle due to communication barriers.
Adrian Wood, a mother of a son with autism, knew she had no choice but to look for resources to help her son become potty trained. A kind stranger provided her information about this program that helps children with autism become successfully potty trained. Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia runs an intensive one-week potty training program for children with autism at the Emory University Autism Center. In addition, the program provides additional potty training support for children and families affected by autism. The potty training program began after children in the Autism Centers preschool were facing difficulties potty training.”They all need individualized services, so we adapt the program as we go to fit each child.” Sharon Hynes, lead behavior specialist at the center, told TODAY.
Wood’s family packed their bags and traveled from North Carolina to Georgia to participate in the week-long potty training program. Throughout the week, Wood spent days and nights training her son, Amos, alongside trained therapists from the Emory Autism Center.
The program utilizes Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to focus on creating new routines and reinforcing positive behaviors. If the child does not become successfully potty trained, the center provides parents with guidelines and resources to continue to potty train their child at home after the program has ended. Although Amos did not successfully learn how to use the bathroom within the programs timeframe, the programs techniques and focus on reinforcing positive behaviors helped Amos eventually become potty trained within eight days. “Be nice and kind and encouraging and try to understand that this is not because we are ‘tired of diapers’. Being potty trained opens up a whole new world of inclusion for our extra special little people and that’s what we long for most of all,” Wood wrote in a post on her Facebook page.
You did it, Amos!
Looking for certain autism resources in your local area? Feel free to contact our Autism Help Hotline to find the right resources for you and your family!