Newbie Introduction

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Mildred, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. Mildred

    Mildred New Member

    <span style='font-size: 11pt'><span style='font-family: Arial'><span style="color: #6666CC">I was referred to this board today and must say I've been enjoying reading other people's posts. I'm also grateful to whoever posted a list of common abbreviations/acronyms - I was beginning to wonder if this was really English I was reading!
    As you can see in my sig, our 6 year old was adopted. He has lived with us since he was 1 month old although we didn't complete his adoption till a year ago. He has a host of problems, mostly the kind that are frustrating but not life threatening. Recently his lack of bowel control has been a source of contention between my hubby and me. husband thinks if we spank him every time he poops in his pull-ups he'll learn to go on the toilet. I say that the bigger fuss we make over it the worse it gets...difficult child has been incapable of pooping on the toilet but if we make him sit when we notice him "going" he then holds it completely till he is so constipated he cries with pain trying to go. Anyway, husband and I have gone around and around on this - I say don't make an issue of it, be matter of fact and he'll do it when he's ready. husband says punish him every time, don't let him do it in his pull-ups and he'll get it faster. After the biggest, loudest "discussion" we've ever had in 29.5 years of marriage in which we settled NOTHING - difficult child initiates sitting on the toilet with limited success 3 times in 24 hours! So what happened? Who knows? I don't expect this to be the end of it, but at least it's a step in the right direction!!
    And after reading the discussion on encopresis, I am more convinced than ever that if changing pull-ups for a big kid is the worst thing I have to do, I can certainly deal with it!
    I'm looking forward to reading and learning more here.</span></span></span>
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Don't spank him! Whatever you do, spanking for toiletting issues is the wrong thing to do.

    I suspect he overheard enough of your argument to want to please you. Sounds like he got the message.

    We went through this with difficult child 1, only with him, he wouldn't do it in his Pull-ups either. It was a week between poops, he would be frantic. He was too terrified to sit on the toilet, even the potty was purgatory for him and it took our weekly visits to his grandfather who would bully it out of him (no spanking, and with hindsight I don't think it was right).

    Things we tried with difficult child 3, to head off this problem - we used bribes. We got those mini-M&M boxes, the ones you get in a multi-pack, and we broke up the task. We'd also tried bribery with difficult child 1, but his problem became so bad, so quickly (what with refusal to do it ANYWHERE, for a week) that we didn't have time for bribery to work.

    So first, we offered a bribe for sitting on the potty. Just sitting. difficult child 1 couldn't do it bare-tailed, so we gave him a bribe just for sitting on the potty, clothed. His rear end fleetingly touched it and then he said he had earned his reward. Strictly speaking, he had. So next time, he had to sit for a whole minute, fully clothed. Then he had to sit with bare behind. And so on.

    difficult child 3 was not a problem with sitting on it, he simply didn't get the connection about what he had to do. He also didn't have the language skills to tell us, or to understand very easily when we talked to him. difficult child 3 went straight to the toilet, not the potty. We blu-tacked a box of mini M&Ms to the wall above the toilet, they were his for actually producing something in the toilet. At first it was small pellets - "rabbit poo", we called it.
    Then he got a box for using the toilet AND having clean Pull-ups. Then it was a box for going a week with clean Pull-Ups and using the toilet.

    Bladder training - that was a whole 'nother kettle of fish.

    We still had accidents for quite a while - years - but he had the idea of what to do. Sensory Integration Disorder can occur independently, but is fairly common in autism. So are some of the other things you describe about him. In Australia we don't get those labels as a separate diagnosis, we get them as part of the autism diagnosis. So I'm not really used to them as often discussed here. For example, we know all three of my younger kids have sensory integration issues, face recognition problems and obsessive/compulsive issues, but these (for us) are all part of the whole constellation of things we have to deal with, part of the autism spectrum component each child is dealing with.

    There is a saying, "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar," and this is especially true in autism. Rewards and incentives will work a lot better than punishment - for these kids, the world is already punishing them. But they do want to please you, and they do try. Often what you're asking of them is still beyond their ability to give you, and here even rewards will not work, you just have to be supportive and wait until they are ready. To punish for an inability to comply, is like punishing a newborn baby for failing to clearly enunciate requests; or like punishing a blind child for not copying accurately from the blackboard.

    Read the book recommended. Try and get husband to read the book. if he can't/won't, don't hassle, just explain it to him. This will help you get a better grasp of it yourself. The techniques described do sound like you are spoiling the child and the usual discipline techniques which have worked for you for years, will be what your husband wants to use. But these techniques, while considered effective for most kids, not only don't work in some cases but they can make a problem worse.
    Switching methods won't spoil a child. You can only spoil a child be being inconsistent. The new method seems to be handing all control to the child but it actually is not - it is giving the child SOME control but in the process it is teaching self-control. It is also teaching that you are not the obstacle or barrier to what he wants, you are the facilitator. You don't work on ALL discipline issues, you choose a few and ignore the rest. For now. The only exceptions are immediate and urgent intervention needed for safety. Otherwise, you try to negotiate with the child but back away before the child goes into meltdown. Soon the child realises you are trying to help and also trying to help prevent meltdowns.
    If you seem to be making absolutely no progress on something, that's when you need to consider - am I trying to work on something the child cannot yet control? If so, change priorities.

    The Ross Green method will also work on other children. It builds independence and capability, as well as a sense of personal responsibility.

    There are a number of apparent behavioural problems in autism, but the most important one for you and husband to realise, is that he will model the behaviour you show to him. Unlike 'normal' kids, an autistic person will not pick up appropriate social behaviour purely by osmosis. They need to be taught, as if you are teaching them their times tables, or the alphabet. They also need to learn by example. They will not distinguish between individuals - they are as purely egalitarian as any individuals in the world -everyone is equal. There is no status - child, adults, teacher, pupil - all are equal. Show him respect and he will show others respect. Use sarcasm, punishment, a harsh tone and he will use the same in his responses, because you are modelling these for him.

    How does difficult child interact with a baby? I'm betting he tries to treat the baby as someone with his own level of understanding of the world. My difficult child 3 was an early reader (without the comprehension to go with it). When he was 11, he was in a hospital waiting room looking for a book to read. Knowing he HAS to read aloud, I suggested he read to a baby (about 6 m o) also present. The baby was getting a bit unsettled. difficult child 3 sat down beside the baby's bassinette and held up three Spot books. "Which one do you want me to read?"
    The baby's hand waved aimlessly, which difficult child 3 took to be a preference selection. he said, "Alright, this one then." and he read the book, making a point of showing the pictures to the baby and asking the baby questions about what he was reading (which we always did, to expand his own understanding of the text). Of course, the baby didn't have a clue, but still settled down because someone was paying him attention and he was happy to look at difficult child 3 talking to him. It was really sweet, but demonstrated how difficult child 3 was still lacking theory of mind.

    difficult child 3 now can show some theory of mind if he thinks hard about the problem, but it has been laboriously taught, it's not automatic for him.

    Also, keep an open mind on the diagnosis - give him credit, do not treat him as if he is delayed; neither should you push him too hard. difficult child 3 'failed' his first IQ test at age 4 but we have since been told his IQ tests above 140. Similarly, difficult child 1 failed his first test. We were told, with both boys, that they were retarded. No way! It's just very hard for an autistic kid to be tested properly, especially when younger. Their language delay issues get in the way, big time. But language often improves, which totally changes how they respond to an assessment.

    If he shows interests or gifts anywhere, encourage him. Support him, praise him. Love him and tell him you love him. It's the way they learn to express love, by experiencing it for themselves.

  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board Mildred. :flower:

    It's certainly nice to meet you.

    I am wondering if this isn't defiance on difficult child's part. In your sig you have that difficult child has global developmental delays and mental retardation. Is it possible.....just tossing out an idea....that difficult child might not have full control over his anus sphynctor? Or that maybe it doesn't register in his brain that he needs to go til it is pretty much too late? Or maybe he's just not "getting" the idea? Especially with the sensory perception disorder tied in there too.

    Regardless, I doubt seriously that spanking him over it is going to do any good. It might be that it's going to take him longer to get the idea than other kids due to all of his issues.

    My son't problem was with urinating. For years he never had the normal urge to go, and never knew he HAD to go til he went a little in his pants.....then it was the mad dash to the bathroom. He wet his bed for years because there was no urge to wake up to go empty his bladder.

    Once we discovered what the problem was, I stopped making a huge fuss over it. I just tried to help him get there in time, and we cleaned up the night messes quickly by dumping the sheets unceremoniously into the washer and him into the tub before school. Eventually the problem resoved itself.

    Oh, just thought of something. My grandson had alot of trouble in the bowel dept. Turned out that he was having trouble distinguishing between gas and if he really needed to go. Poor kid had alot of painful gas so it was not easy for him to tell.

    Others will be along I'm sure.

    Again welcome. Glad you found us.

  4. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    The others have already given you excellent advice. At this moment, I can't think of anything to add except to let you know I also understand how frustrating this problem can be. Both of my difficult children are on the Austistic Spectrum. difficult child 1 wasn't fully bowel trained until he was six years old. difficult child 1 is now 16 years old, and won't go if he is busy on his computer. He'll hold it until, even now, he gets constipated. difficult child 2 is very, very delayed in all areas. The only way to get difficult child 2 to use the bathroom, is to make it a part of his daily schedule. Years ago, we were told to make difficult child 2 sit on the toilet at approximately the same time every day. To date, he still "goes" on a schedule and will occasionally have "accidents". difficult child 2 is 15 years old.

    Well, anyway, sometimes it helps just to know that there are others who truly understand...We do!!! I'm glad you found us and hope to get to know you better. WFEN
  5. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Hi Mildred, welcome to the board.

    I don't have much experience or wisdom to offer you in the way of your particular issue, but I wanted to pop in and offer my support and welcome you to the board.

    I also wanted to offer a suggestion, that you not use your children's photo as an avatar. At any time someone who knows you could see it and find some damaging information.

    There are many sites that have very cute avatars. I can PM you some of them if you like.

    Welcome to the board. This is a very soft place to land.
  6. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member


    I definately would get the picture of the kids off the site. This forum is open to the entire world!

    I also think spanking is not the answer. I am glad you stood your ground. I think difficult child went on the potty so husband would not yell at you. I do think it is not the end of the problem. But, it is for sure a step in the right direction. He is capable.

    You say he is adopted. Is he capable of hugs and love? Does he look you in the eye?
  7. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member

    I have a friend who's son is autistic. He refuses to go on the toilet. Every night, before a bath, she'll put a pull up on him, he goes and then she cleans him up and gives him a bath. He's going to be 8. He's fully potty trained for the other, but going number 2 is just not happening.

    I think it's great that he went...praise him and tell him that's great. Spanking a possibly autistic child is definitely not the way to go.

    My difficult child, who is not autistic had a problem with wetting the bed. Anytime we made a big deal of it, it definitely got worse. She had a lot of anxiety about it. When I was finally able to convince everyone to stop spouting about it, she loosened up and when she was 5 1/2 finally stopped wetting. She stopped wearing the pull to bed when she was almost 6. She's wet once since (purely accidental and I changed the sheets and reassured her that it was no big deal).
  8. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    There's a book out that addresses the issue of Toilet Training For Children with Autism and other Developmental Disorders by Maria Wheeler. The forward to the book is by Carol Kranowitz, author of the The Out of Sync Child so I'm sure this book would be in tune with sensory issues and other problems that make training so challenging.

    Toilet Training for Individuals with Autism

    My difficult child wouldn't work for petty incentives but what finally worked for us were BIG bribes. Magic School Bus video games when he was approaching age 5--they cost a lot but were tons cheaper than diapers in the long run.
  9. Mildred

    Mildred New Member

    Wow! I definitely feel loved and cared for here! Thank you all so much for your input. I am very much on board with the no spanking; you're just all confirming it for me.
    difficult child has 4 nieces (those were their pics in my avatar, but thanks for the warning to get them off. I just never thought of a possible danger there! I chose the duck with 6 ducklings for my 6 kids :smile: ) Anyway the nieces are all 2 and under, and he starts to act like them when he is with them. I don't have to tell you that a big-for-his age 6 year old trying to roll on the floor like a 2 year old or wanting to use a pacifier, trying to lay on mom's lap like a nursing infant - well, he doesn't get much understanding from husband! I try not to make issues of anything I don't have to, though occasionally its a safety issue for the smaller children. So to answer your question, Margeurite, I think he tends to regress to their age, rather than want them to act like him.
    Yes, we celebrated like crazy when he did it in the toilet. I cheer when he just sits, even if he doesn't get anything out. Hey, at this point, I get excited when he goes to kneel on the bathroom floor instead of behind the couch to do it in his pull-up! :bravo:
    I have "The Out-of-Sync Child" and will be checking into the other one as well. I like the idea of regular toileting times...maybe as soon as he gets home from school and then his "bribe" can be the healthy snack he gets anyway. Or maybe I should feed him first since he often has bowel movements after he eats. He's already familiar with using a timer so I can gradually increase his sitting time. He could have another session after dinner once he gets accustomed to the after-school one.
    I really do think that it is mainly a development issue rather than physical and certainly not defiance. Just have to get husband to stop thinking he can "force" it to happen! (husband is really a great dad in many ways - just has a hard time getting past some of the issues involved with having a young difficult child at age 52!)
    Thanks again, everyone - I will be here often, I'm sure!
  10. Mildred

    Mildred New Member

    Busywend, I was going to answer your question too. Hugs and love - absolutely! He'll come give me a big hug for no reason or just stop playing and say "I wuv you, mom" - it'll melt a mother's heart every time! Eye contact is not so good - I have to ask for it, usually several times and its only a few seconds before he looks away again. Do you have any advice about that? I know its a characteristic of autism but is there value in "practicing" eye contact?
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Mildred, you said, "I think he tends to regress to their age..." [the younger cousins] "...rather than want them to act like him."

    What I meant was, those with autism tend to see everybody on their level. Now if his level happens to be regressed, that is what he perceives. If he identifies with his younger cousins, it is because developmentally he has more in common with them. But he also will view you by the same standards. If you got on the floor, rolled around and begged for a dummy, he would not bat an eyelid, although he might find it unusual - you haven't done it before. It really is hard sometimes to get into their heads, and they do slowly learn all sorts of social skills, especially if you are teaching them, but only as far as they are able to learn them. And every kid is subtly different. For example, difficult child 3 makes good eye contact with people he knows. So does easy child 2/difficult child 2, but she especially makes poor or fleeting eye contact with people she doesn't know so well. difficult child 1 was shocking when it came to eye contact.
    With difficult child 3's eye contact, it was less poor eye contact and more "I'm too busy to look at you right now."

    Has husband read "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time"? It's by Mark Haddon. It's fiction, written in the first person as if the writer has Asperger's Syndrome (Haddon is not autistic in any way). It's really good at showing what is inside such a person's head. The main character is in his teens, but quite limited in what he has been able to do for himself. His coping skills are original and his family copes to a large extent by supporting his need to limit certain experiences.

    It's also an adventure story, it's about self-discovery as well as solving a mystery - in the process of which, he solves other mysteries he didn't know existed, and finds some wonderful abilities within himself. It's a brilliant book, an award-winner. Not a children's book, although a child could read it and get something out of it. I wouldn't expect anybody under 15 to really follow it in full detail.

    As far as 'practising' eye contact, if it feels right, then do it. It's the same with a lot of things about him. Use rewards (spoken word is often enough - try to avoid using material rewards too often). Praise him for maintaining eye contact. Make a game of eye contact, where you perhaps practice staring at each other. And be aware, he may have other needs. For example, Christopher (the character in the book I just mentioned) explains how making eye contact with someone makes it much harder for him to hear what they are saying.

    You know those games people play with babies? "Touch your ... nose!" "Touch your ... ear!"
    difficult child 3 couldn't do it. Even when we moved his hand to touch the part we mentioned, he just couldn't get it. But easy child invented a game which he COULD do - she would make a facial expression and name it. Then she would ask him to copy it. They would do it together in front of a large mirror. Soon he learnt the names of a number of expressions, although they were very stylised. When he started school and was feeling angry, he would make his face angry to try to communicate to his teacher. It really looked contrived, but the feeling underneath was genuine. And he STILL couldn't play "touch your nose".
    Other autistic kids are the other way around.

    So if what you're doing with eye contact seems to be not upsetting him, and he's enjoying the game, then carry on. Find other games. When you think about it, a lot of early learning happens through games. Try counting games, finger play games, nursery rhymes, singing games... what worked best for difficult child 3 was NOT breaking things down into baby steps, but exposing him to a full spectrum of a learning area, all at once. Sounds crazy, but it was as if he had to experience the whole thing as a unit, before he could then go back and look at its component parts. For example, learning to read - the hardest part of learning to read it to recognise that something in his world can be represented by an abstract symbol. Even language fits into this category - a newborn baby KNOWS "mother" as the woman who holds him, feeds him, nurtures him, but there is no way a newborn recognises the abstract word. That abstract link comes later.
    For difficult child 3, he learnt the link between the LOOK of a whole word and the object it represented, as well as the SOUND of the word, and the MEANING of the word. All in one go, for each word. He learned "stop" by seeing it written next to a drawing of a stop light on red. We would look at the word, look at the picture and say the word. As we walked and we said the word while looking at the word and the picture, we would immediately stop. Of course, this meant we also had to learn the word "go" at the same time.
    He was two years old and apart from the words he was learning this way, he was non-verbal. What he could read, he could use. Therefore he could count, but usually only while watching something else counting - he was reading a countdown, or a count-up. He could read numbers and the alphabet before he was two. And yet when he was 4, we were told he was "borderline".

    You find what opens the door for your child and you stick your foot in the door. And like any good door-to-door salesman, you use that chink in the door to entice the customer to get interested in what you are selling. Different customers will like different products. It's up to you to find what 'sells' to him.

  12. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    by the way, if he's having eye contact problems he should have a speech goal to work on it in his IEP at school.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Hi Mildred!

    It sounds as though everyone has given you some great advice. Welcome to our little corner of heaven!

    The Explosive Child is a great book. I know my husband did not "get it" or really appreciate the way it worked. What worked more for us was Love & Logic. It just seemed to make sense to my husband, and we were at the point where anything that dad could back me up on was wonderful. If your husband has trouble with the other books, you might go to and look around. I get their weekly newletter and it usually has something that helps. They also have free audio downloads that are a blast.

    I know they also have a book on using love and logic with special needs kids. I have heard great things about it, we just used the regular love and logic book and made it work for us.

    I hope your husband doesn't spank, it really doesn't do anything but make the child afraid and at the same time the child will often hit others. You hit him, so it must be OK in his mind. That is just an example of the kind of logic you may have to get used to.

    Sensory integration can be a lot of fun to work with. Many ways to help it are just plain fun. for some of these you may wnat to get The Out of Sync Child Has Fun, by Kranowitz. It is wonderful.

    Hope Occupational Therapist (OT) see you around,


    ps. Sorry about typos, I am having problems with my hands.
  14. Mildred

    Mildred New Member

    Its such a pleasure to come back and see that people are caring about my problems - which honestly, sound small compared to what I'm reading about what some of the rest of you are going through. difficult child's Occupational Therapist (OT) from 2 years ago used some brushing but we were never really taught how to do it. I guess I need to get a whole pile of books here - some interesting-sounding suggestions here!
    Yes, husband does spank, although since my last big (and loud) "discussion" he has changed difficult child once and didn't spank so maybe I scared him a bit! :smile: We have also spanked for other things, though I personally don't think it helps at all - sometimes I get so frustrated and do it as a last resort. Of course, there are different definitions of spanking too - mine are usually a swat on the backside which is well padded with a pullup. I almost think the noise gets his attention more than the pain! And recently he has started asking for a spanking! He'll lay on the couch or just turn his back to me and say, "spank me, spank me, please!". Now what is THAT all about!?
    I haven't played much with the eye contact thing yet, will have to see how he responds. Interesting idea on teaching him to read with whole words rather than the alphabet. I can tell I'm going to be getting some awesome ideas here! I have been reading other threads but don't feel like I have much experience to contribute. I feel like I'm a sponge, soaking it all up. Maybe someday I will be able to help others as well.
  15. SnowAngel

    SnowAngel New Member

    Everyone of us here is needed. Sometimes we are able to offer suggestions. Sometimes I can't offer help, but I keep those people in my thoughts and prayers. Never think your issues are less significant to somebody elses situation. We all handle things differently. I am not as stressed when things are happening at home now that I have people to turn to that can relate. This website is truly a blessing as is each one of you.

    Not one parent hasn't been frustrated. Heck I even looked at my kids(they were all fighting in the grocery store) and said "Now I understand why animals eat their young" I was so stressed out and never in a million years would I say that again to them, but we do get frustrated. Our children don't come with individualized instructions..its a learn as you go process and it is tough. Don't beat yourself up for being frustrated and please take at least 10 minutes a day for you, it is so important.
  16. Laelee

    Laelee New Member

    Hi Mildred,welcome!
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    in my opinion, it's not defiance. He has mild cognitive issues and is on the autism spectrum. My son was also adopted and is on the autism spectrum. He didn't poop in the toilet until he was five. He was never spanked for it. Sensory-challenged kids have trouble with pottying as do many on the autism spectrum. I think husband needs to realize this is not your typical kid and learn/read about autistic spectrum disorder. I would take him to a neuropsychologist to clarify his needs. They do intensive testing and can pinpoint his trouble areas and maybe explain things to husband. I notice you are older parents, like me. Is this your first adopted child? Obviously, he was exposed to alcohol and/or drugs in utero. If he also has fetal alcohol effects, he has organic brain damage and it is in my opinion wrong to blame him for the things he does. This child has a lot of challenges and, since Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) don't go away, he will have a lifetime to deal with them. I wouldn't make his little life any harder.