Wednesday 15 November 2017

WonderfulWednesday: WorldToiletDay

David in a blue ice-cave with an ice bed for World Toilet Day

Every week the wonderful people at The Makaton Charity share a sign of the week through their #wetalkmakaton initiative. I think it's often a great way of raising awareness of much more than just communication needs.

Makaton was one of the key way our son's learned to communication and/or talk.  It created a basic understanding of communication for David and even our completely verbal daughter knows some Makaton so she can, when needed communicate with her brother.

This week's sign of the week is toilet supporting World Toilet Day this weekend.  Toilet training for a child with autism, like mine, can be really challenging.  It's fraught with difficulties; sensory processing, language, routine change, communication to name but a few.  Our success with Anthony came as his receptive and expressive language continued.

David's language though has been much slower.  At nearly seven years old he is still pre-verbal saying quite a few, unrecognisable to anyone outside the family, words.  Once he'd got the idea of going on the potty we used a classic system of tiny adjustments to going on the loo.

At first the potty would be in the same room as David.  Over the next few days we very slowly moved it out of the room he was in, towards the downstairs loo.  It was always put in a place he could see if from where he had gone to before.  This took about a week.  When he needed to go he'd find his way to where the potty used to be and then only have to take a few more steps to get to it.

Once we'd got the potty into the toilet, we actually strapped it to the top of a toilet seat on the floor. Then after a few days strapped it onto the toilet seat on the actual loo and then finally took the potty away.

This kind of slow reduction, moving or retraction is a lot of how we do things with David. Change can be very difficult for many autistic people.  This method meant he was only coping with a small change at a time and this made the transition easier.

When we go out anywhere, we still often will use a disabled loo.  This is because David still needs monitoring during the process and we don't always fit into a regular cubicle.  But some kids need more help.  Many of my SEND colleagues need a facility called a #changingplaces toilet.

It's a slightly larger room with a hoist and changing table that makes it possible for them to take their additional needs kids out to places to.  If you don't know what a #changingplace is, you aren't the only one and I bet you are even more unlikely to have come across one.   Here's some great posts on what they are and why they are needed:

So thanks again to The Makaton Charity for their sign of the week. Always good to be spreading a bit of awareness, whether that's about the things in our world like autism and Makaton or things important to others like changing places.


  1. Thank you so much for highlighting changing places toilets for #WorldToiletDay !


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