How to Best Help Children Dealing with Incontinence Due to Autism

April is National Autism Awareness Month. One of the common challenges for children who are on the autism spectrum is that they deal with issues with incontinence. Apart from offering the best incontinence products on the market today, we wanted to provide some different tips and tricks for parents looking to help their child who is struggling with incontinence due to autism.

Autism can delay the speed at which a child is able to be properly toilet train. It’s also possible that a child with autism may struggle to properly communicate when they need to visit the restroom, which can lead to accidents. Kids have a lot of distractions. And whether it be a video game or a television program, children with autism will often be distracted by stimulating activities, which causes them to not notice the urge to visit the restroom. The good news for parents is that children who simply don’t take the necessary steps when they have the urge to urinate or defecate have what is called functional incontinence. Involuntary incontinence is much more difficult to overcome.

The best thing a parent can do for their autistic child struggling with incontinence is to be supportive. It’s no one’s fault and it’s certainly not something that a child should be punished for. Parents need to stay patient and offer reassurance while teaching their child. One of the best teaching tools for children with autism is often a reward system of sorts. Resistance to changing of patterns is typical for autistic children. Every parent should look to personalize the rewards to their child’s interests. The more rewards are offered, the fewer home delivery for incontinence supplies orders should be needed down the road.

Every parent should help their child by staying prepared. This means having a game plan for every event. Whether it’s traveling on a vacation or just heading to a playground, a parent should have plenty of incontinence products with them. Another way to stay prepared is to take note of normal bathroom routines. Routines can help reduce the number of accidents as a parent can ask their child to try the bathroom during defined time periods. Sometimes, all it takes is reminding a child that their activity will be there when they get back to remove them from the activity and have them visit the bathroom.

Every bathroom trip can come with sensory triggers for children with autism. Parents should take the time to notice things like how loud the toilet flushes and how that could impact their child’s behavior. Something as simple as adjusting the brightness of the lights in the room may make the bathroom a more comfortable place for a child with autism.

Finally, there are dietary steps that can be taken, which will help children with their incontinence. Diet will go a long way towards keeping a child’s movements on a routine. The more a child can stick with a routine, the more likely they are to avoid accidents and utilize fewer incontinence supplies over time.

For questions about any of the incontinence products we offer at Personally Delivered, please contact us and one of our friendly Personally Delivered Product Experts will be happy to help.

Autism, Incontinence, & Traveling

Caring for a child with autism comes with its own set of challenges and those can vary greatly due to the severity of their condition. Many children with autism have no problems with incontinence, while others may experience involuntary control of bowel movements and urination. This may happen because an autistic child is unable to communicate effectively or they are distracted by other stimulating activities. When you introduce the concept of traveling with an autistic child that suffers from incontinence, it may sound overwhelming, however there are effective ways to manage.

Characteristics of Autism

First, let’s explain autism in its most basic form.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) usually appears when a child is very young, typically between the ages of 2 and 3. They begin to show signs of repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication are delayed, and they lack in the development of social skills.

Some of the characteristics of autism, but are not limited to are:

  • Repetitive behaviors such as body movements or actions
  • Difficulty playing with other children or holding a normal conversation
  • Taking an unusual interest in certain objects
  • Overreacting to one or more of the 5 senses (touch, sight, smell, taste, or hearing)
  • Underreacting to one or more of the 5 senses

Incontinence in Children with Autism

Since children with a disability such as autism may be distracted easily and for longer periods of time, they may “forget” to use the bathroom. Because of their delayed speech and language development, they often are unable to effectively communicate their need to voluntarily void. With the many challenges that children face with autism, it is easy to understand that incontinence can be one of them.

You may already be exhausted from making sure there aren’t any sensory triggers present for your child, accident preparation, and being as patient and supportive as possible. If you have travel coming up, you might be starting to feel the stress of it all and wonder if it is even possible.

Traveling with Incontinence and Autism

Traveling can be manageable when you have a child with ASD and incontinence. It might seem overwhelming at first, but there are several things that you can do to prepare and make everyone’s experience more enjoyable.

Start Planning Early

A child with autism may be able to sense the stress in others and this may set off their emotions. The earlier you start planning the trip, the less stress you’ll exude as you are walking out the door. Getting your child involved with the planning and packing could aid in them not feeling that something is happening that is far out of their routine when you are ready to leave. It would be wise to prepare to expect the unexpected and this may help avoid anxiety or a sudden outburst.

If you are traveling in a vehicle, make sure you are aware of acceptable restrooms along the way to your destination. Download an app on your phone such as Sit or Squat or Flush to make the process less cumbersome.

Try Role Playing

You might even try to role play some of the experience with your child before traveling. If you are flying, setup a mock security checkpoint for them to walk through. You might take a longer ride in the car while staying in your local area for them to get used to being in the care for a length of time with their seatbelt secured. Take them to the store with you frequently to get them used to standing and waiting in lines.

Pack the Essentials

Incontinence doesn’t have to be difficult to manage while traveling if you pack the right supplies. If you are keeping your child with autism distracted in the car, they may not realize they have to use the bathroom until it’s too late. There are many incontinence products that are effective for all levels from leaking to full voids.

Boy’s and girl’s potty training pull-ups are a great option for leaks and heavy absorbency diapers work well for locking away liquids and provide maximum protection. It’s also a good idea to line the car seat or seat material with an underpad for added protection. This will help to prevent anything from getting soiled or wet. There are a variety of other products to choose from that might help in times of need.

A few other items to pack are disposable bags, hand sanitizer, wipes, and a change of clothing that is separate from your already packed luggage. For a quick list that might be helpful, we’ve put one together for your convenience.

Schedule Frequent Breaks

A child with autism and incontinence can often get emotional and agitated when they are tired and/or bored. Scheduling plenty of stops along the way to use the restroom and take a break might help with your child’s mood and can also be a short pause for fun. Make sure to follow the verbal and non-verbal cues from your child and try to be as flexible as possible with your travels to accommodate their need to take more rest stops than you might have originally planned.

Traveling with an autistic child that has incontinence doesn’t have to be a difficult process if you plan well in advance for the unexpected. Make sure you take plenty of pictures to capture the entire experience so your child can reflect back and observe how well they managed on your travels together. Remember to be flexible and stay positive so everyone can have a great trip.

For any questions on the incontinence products we offer, our Product Experts are just a phone call away and ready to help.

And, for even more resources for traveling with an autistic child, visit the sites below: