The Shape of Behavior ABA Clinic helps a Teenager with Autism conquer issues with Potty Training

img 2286A 13-year-old Houston boy, who is afflicted with autism spectrum disorder, urinated in the toilet for the first time in his life on Jan. 25, 2012. This significant leap forward in self-sufficiency brought tears of joy to the eyes of his mother who gleefully broke out a bottle of champagne. After sending off a video to relatives overseas, the elated family celebrated this life-changing event with a potty party at The Shape of Behavior (The Shape) clinic.

Despite numerous attempts to potty train, the boy has spent his entire life completely dependent upon others for attending to personal hygiene issues. "The Shape worked with him several years ago, but he would hold his urine for alarmingly long periods of time," explains the single mother of two boys. "I never gave up because Dr. Randall and her staff never gave up on my son. I always knew he would do it someday!"

Issues such as not being toilet trained, strip children with autism of their independence and limit their future habitation and employment options; this severely impacts their quality of life. The Shape strives to give children the tools they need to be independent, to make learning meaningful and to improve the quality of their interactions with others.

Dr. Randall, a board certified behavior analyst who specializes in autism, says the popular child-oriented approach to potty training must be revised for children with autism. Traditional motivation tactics such as a sense of pride or a strong desire to emulate parents are often absent for children who have autism spectrum disorder. "They may have a difficult time understanding the logic behind going to the bathroom, feel afraid of or may be turned off by the disruption in routine or they may be unaware of bodily cues," she explains. "We develop toilet training methods that take all these factors into consideration."

"My son has many other victories over the years since he began attending The Shape, but this is one day I will remember forever!" Mom says. "I want to encourage parents of children with autism and other disabilities to hold on to their dreams and goals."