From Amanda: Many children are in a hurry when they use the bathroom and either forget to wipe or forget to wash their hands. A simple reminder is all it takes with a typical child but what happens when you are working with a child on the Autism Spectrum and they are eager to back to their “favorite thing”? Well, I am going to give you a couple of quick tips that may be helpful to you the next time there is a bathroom break during one of your sessions.
First and foremost, decide to be comfortable in this moment. Anything that happens is perfect for you and for your child. Maybe there is a mess on the floor, or a mess on the child, but how you feel inside doesn’t have to feel like a mess at all. Take a deep breath and say “This is great just the way it is.”
Know that it’s OK to want more for your child. Asking them to take care of their body is a really useful tool they can use for the rest of their lives. Set an intention to really go for this and stick to it. If the intention is to have your child wipe after a poo, or wash their hands, then be passionate and go for it in the most comfortable, loving, and accepting way you possibly can.
Be calm and relaxed with your child. Using physical manipulation or a harsh tone will only create stress for you and your child. If the child is old enough ask them to wipe their own bottom. Be really excited about this as taking care of ourselves is fun. If they aren’t old enough, tell your child you are going to help them wipe their bottom so you can keep them healthy and safe. If the child resists you as you try to wipe them or they run off, be sweet and loving as you continue to let them know you want to take care of them. Follow your child and try to go with them as you wipe their behind all while being loving ans sweet. Remember, this is to help your child stay healthy.
As you ask them to wash their hands, give a similar explanation and show them how you wash your hands. Invite them to come to the sink and wash your hands together.Again, if the child goes off to play, invite them back to the sink. Sing a silly “washing our hands” song and show your child how much fun it is to wash. Bring a washcloth to your child if they don’t come back to the sink and ask them to put their hands in the cloth so you can give them a nice rub.
As you go on to help your children after their potty sessions, remember to stay calm and loving and be easy with yourself and your child.
Happy bathroom time!