Sunday, August 17, 2008

Navigating Bathrooms- autism and cochlear implants

A friend recently wrote me an email recently and said that when she took her autistic son into the woman's bathroom with her, she was approached and told that he was much to old to be in there. There is no way my Andrew (8 years old this week) could navigate the bathroom by himself. First, he often pulls down his pants even before getting to the stall, he wants to talk to everyone and touch everything. And add to that a cochlear implant that might get flushed...well...I'm just not taking that chance. And of course there is the safety factor. Even with me standing right outside anything can happen. He just isn't able to do it himself. But what DO you do?? We try to use 'family' or single use restrooms but those are not available everywhere. Let's face it. Mom is often the one out with the kiddos and there are many more boys with autism than girls. Health clubs almost always have 'family changing rooms' but fast food restaurants do not. If the disability is more visible, perhaps it is more 'accepted' because it appears more obviously that the person may need assistance. I am curious what others have seen and found.....




6 comments:

MM said...

My son is autistic too, and you are lucky to get him IN a restaurant or similar, since mine would not enter one for the first 12 years of his life. Even now there is only ONE area he will enter and sit down to eat. If we go out for the day, we have to take food with us. Toilet wise, he wouldn't use anyone else's but the one at home, from early age he had gained an ability to refrain from going to the toilet at all outside the home. At school he would be fine, at the school gates he would wet himself the second he got outside them. It was a race to get him home in time mostly. I Managed to force the pace a bit, by encouraging him to drink a lot before he went to school, then, even with the best control he could master, he had no option but to go ! There were a few 'accidents', his school was understanding, and after a while he would ask to go, but he would walk into the female or male toilets it didn't bother him!

Val said...

If Gage goes into a bathroom (like at school) alone, he takes his coil off. He doesn't like the echoey sounds of the restroom and I'm like you...people can say what they want behind my back, my seven yo is going in w/me. There are stalls in there...he doesn't look under them, so I don't see a problem w/it. I'd have a FIT if someone said anything to me about it!! Having said that, we are in the next year or two going to have to move him to the men's restroom. But right now, he is very small for his age (his body is about the size of a 5 yo) so we're good for now. Oh, and you throw another "issue" in the mix, I for sure wouldn't let my kid out of my sight!

The Glasers said...

I would not be bothered by a boy in the restroom if accompanied by his mother. But, I did find it awkward to see little boys in the changing room at Carowinds. They looked around 7 or 8. Locker rooms are a much more awkward issue in my opinion. The showers had no curtains, and no one was using them. I think it was because those little boys were seated on the benches facing the showers!

I bet everyone in line would have been glad to give that family cuts so that they could get those boys in and out of there as quickly as possible.

Prince Andrew and the Queen Mum said...

that is strange about the changing rooms- especially w/ the no curtains. I'm not sure what I'd do in that case. I'd probably change myself in a stall w/ Andrew with me... and him too. and forgo the showers... Most places have 'family' changing rooms that I have been to.

Prince Andrew and the Queen Mum said...

MM thanks for commenting. we do have to be creative w/ our kids sometimes...

Val- interesting about the echo. i never try and have a conversation w Andrew at all in the bathroom. he can NOT hear in there.

Jessica said...

So I'm not the only one who worries about these things.
My oldest son has some of the same problems as far as not knowing what is socially acceptable with touching and he often has his pants around his ankles before he gets in the stall. I've gotten a couple of strange looks by having all my kids in a restroom at once but I think it was more do to the fact that there are 5 of them.
I only let Tom use the men's bathroom if it is a one stall with me right outside the door. Otherwise we have been very blessed to usually find the bathrooms empty.
I'm with you on delaying the transition to men's bathrooms, it totally freaks me out and some of that is due to not knowing if Tom would know if someone was doing something wrong!
For right now we try to go places that have family restrooms or are small stores.
Good luck!

Related Posts with Thumbnails