Toilet Training is an important part of a child’s development. While toilet training could turn out to be particularly challenging for all parents, it becomes a tougher ordeal for parents of children with special needs. By the age of three or four a child is able to grasp a bit of hygiene and processes involved in potty training but in case of children with developmental disabilities, learning disorders, visual impairment, deafness and other disabilities toilet training becomes a very difficult task for the parents. In such cases, consulting an expert pediatrician actually helps a lot. Experienced pediatricians who have studied and handled children with special needs are able to ease the communication gap that occurs between a parent and a child with special needs while toilet training.
But before opting for any help, any child only becomes ready for toilet training when the answers for all the following questions are on the affirmative.
Does the child have the awareness to distinguish between being wet or dry?
Is the child capable of remaining dry continuously for a period of two hours?
Can the child sense bowel movements or the need to urinate?
Can the child reach the toilet in time, even if it is with some help?
Can the child dress and undress him or herself or interested to learn.
Is the child motivated at any level to proceed further?
If the answer for all the above questions is yes, then you could go ahead to potty train your child. But for children with special needs, the parents have to take an informed and exclusive approach to each child’s need. A child with developmental disabilities may need occupational therapy and language therapy to first better communication so that the child can understand the parent. For children with visual impairment, it becomes extremely difficult as auditory responses may be his or hers only cue and that may cause delay and difficulty in potty training. In such a case therapy to improve spatial awareness based on auditory cues may help the child immensely. Similarly for children with hearing impairment, communication for the parent becomes difficult. If the child understands child language then the task becomes a tad bit easier. In any case parents must take it easy with children with special needs and encourage them at each step as encouragement is the only way forward. The help of therapists as well as an experienced pediatrician also helps a lot.
The best helps come in form of a special educator for children. Along with the pediatricians, special educators can provide the best possible help in helping special needs children with the necessary training. The role of the special educator here is to not only help the child acquire the necessary information to improve every day in potty training but to also equip the parent with the needed insight into how to communicate and help the child, thereby bridging the communication gap between the child, the parent and the school. Therefore the child is able to learn quickly despite difficulties without the wastage of precious time.
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