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styxman 02-15-2010 09:07 PM

Down syndrome and Autism pottie training
I am a friend of a couple who has a six year old who has Down syndrome and Autism. He is not pottie trained and they are really having a rough time with him. He also has a younger brother who is 5 years old and he imitates his old brother a lot. He just doesn't understand that he is different. In turn, he gets into a lot of mischief as well. His older brother with his autisim on top of his 'downs' makes him throw things inside the house. His latest thing now is putting his hands inside his diaper and smearing his fecus on the wall, floor and everywhere. This has been going on more frequently within 2 or 3 months. Is this a sign of something? When the parents try and put him on the pottie, he struggles to get off the pottie and just goes bolistic. Another major problem is him going to sleep. He is hard to get him to go to sleep. It's either mom or dad sleeping with him so that he can fall asleep. He doesn't sleep all to well either, and is always the first one up. Can you help me to help my friends? It would be great if they can have a professional live with them just to pottie train him and help the parents understand with what he is going through. Is there a professional in that kind? I can see that it is taking a toll on the parents and I can just imagine it's hard on their marriage as well. They are so dedicated and so strong for each other, an yet I can just see the tears in their eyes. Is there such a thing as a pottie trainer specialist to help pottie train him? As a friend, I would try and look up Down Syndrome and Autism on the internet to see what information is out there. All I get is either Down Syndrome information by itself and Autism information by itself. Never any information together. Any help you can give would be awesome! Thank you in advance.

sjs40 02-21-2010 01:57 PM

Re: Down syndrome and Autism pottie training

You are such a wonderful friend & your friends definitely have their hands full!

Your friends may already know this, but if you live in the US and have a child with a disability, you can go through the county health department for services at the home, including child care & behavior/play therapy. Are the boys already enrolled in an educational program?

I realize their oldest son is 6, but why are they pushing him into potty training? Mentally, he may only be 2 or younger? A child will only be successful when they are emotionally ready, not just physically. Usually with Down Syndrome, a child acts younger than their actual age. He's going ballistic because he's probably not ready. There are potty videos he can watch with cute songs that maybe will get him interested in the potty. He won't be successful when he's pushed into it. There is no magic age when a child has a disability. One needs to take ques from them, and watching the musical potty video, can make it a pleasant experience. For now, your friends should not push the potty issue. Just casually pop the DVD into the player, and let him at least enjoy the songs. Maybe start a sticker chart for both boys. When they fill it, they get a toy they want. So if the 5 year is motivated to get a toy, and does earn one, the 6 year old might then become interested.

Fecal smearing is not unheard of. There are children that do this. If they can find a way that he not access his paints... Does he like super heroes or costumes? Maybe if he wore something like a 'cool' costume, he wouldn't try to gain access to his pants.

I'm sure part of the reason the 5 year old gets into mischief, is because of all the attention and care his brother gets, and in return, he'll seek attention any way he can get it. Positive praise for both boys especially when things are always difficult, takes effort, but is a must for good behavior, and most importantly, so they feel loved. Maybe you, as a friend, could take the 5 year old out for ice cream, if his parents think that would be a good idea.

Six years of sleeping in the room with the child until he gets to sleep is a disaster on a marriage. That's a bad habit that will take a while to break. Normally, I would say, let a child cry it out. But if it could cause injury to himself, that's obviously something to take into consideration.

They don't have to feel like bad parents if their son needs medication in order to sleep. Especially if he doesn't get quality sleep at night. And apparently, no one is.

If you do live in the US, there is help out there. A live in caretaker would be a nice. Check with the county health department for resources.

I wish I could be more of a help. Let me know if you have any further questions.


Mira11 02-22-2010 02:58 AM

Re: Down syndrome and Autism pottie training
Yes, you are a great friend! The prior responders suggestions are great and I'll just emphacize that they should definitely call their local county developmental disabilities office and do the intake to have a case manager assigned to help this family with services. They are services out there for what you are describing and they should get on board with this asap!

If they could afford it, I would also suggest a live in caregiver who could lend a very needed helping hand to this family. I agree that the younger child is acting out because he is not getting enough attention and a caregiver could help resolve this. Even if it's for a year or two, it would be a big difference for this family.

Many occupational therapists can help families with potty training; however, if this child has both down's and autism, he may simply not be ready. An o.t. specializing in autism would be good for this family to consult with to help with some of the problems; either that or a behavioral specialist and I would think that their pediatrician would be a good source of referrals.

Keep us posted on how things are going.

styxman 02-22-2010 07:36 PM

Re: Down syndrome and Autism pottie training
Thank you SJS40 and Mira11 for your information!!! I will pass it on with them. After talking to my friend tonight, I found out that I was wrong with their ages. The child with downs and autism is 8 yrs. old. Thanks again for you help! I will keep you posted.

BGsMom 03-31-2010 11:44 PM

Re: Down syndrome and Autism pottie training
My special needs daughter had problems falling and staying asleep and our Dr. recommended we give her a liquid form of melantonin every evening.It is natural and no side effects and it really helped a lot. She liked the flavor too so it was easy to give her.

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