I don’t really like sharing this because as a mom, I feel I have failed. But perhaps it is the right time to share…it might even help someone???
We have been mightily blessed with Nathan…complete with one too many challenges, from not being able to reach physical milestones due to the brain injury at birth which limits his ability to move his legs (cerebral palsy) to his autism, short attention span, not being able to follow simple instructions, etc.
“Mightily blessed” because I believe whatever the enemy tries to take away from us, God will restore. And when He restores, He gives back so much more!
From the long list of what to help Nathan with, I picked my battles. That is, to help Nathan speak and simply connect with us. And to keep my sanity intact, I threw a lot from my “help Nathan with…list” out the window…
The last thing I wanted was to be stressed about the fact that Nathan could not cognitively, physically, and independently use the toilet. I am thankful that our loving Yaya has been around to handle this task so that we could focus on other priorities. I remember talking to Yaya about this last year. She said she was doing everything she could to help Nathan use the toilet independently because it did not feel right to be assisting a teenage boy with this task, more so as he grows to be a young man. But despite all her efforts, she couldn’t imagine Nathan choosing to go to the toilet independently.
Waking up with wet diapers and bedsheets was just another part of “living with autism and cerebral palsy” and so was mopping up after accidents and cleaning up poop smears from floors and walls if we were just a minute late from catching Nathan.
Now you know why this is so difficult to write about this. Hopefully, Nathan will look back at this post and not only forgive me but laugh about all the things that happened during his teen years!
Fast forward to this year…still with no changes in toilet training efforts…Nathan now goes to the toilet on his own! He manages to balance and stand while pulling down his pants and shoots his pee or poop in the toilet!!!
He has this handicap toilet seat in his room. We bought it a few years ago but used it as a display because no amount of teaching could encourage him to use it. However, for the past 3 nights he has been shooting his pee and poop into the toilet seat ! Our wiping-up efforts have been confined to the poop smear path from his toilet seat 🚽 💩 to 💩 his 💩 bed 🛌 . Life is not perfect, but I’ll take it! In fact, I’ll celebrate it! I just know that this is just the beginning and more good things are to come!!!
What did we do differently? Nothing. A child learns to pee and poop into the toilet almost naturally. I guess the brain fog of autism just inhibits natural learning and Nathan’s physical handicap was double jeopardy. Since Nathan’s brain fog has been lifting and his muscle coordination has been improving (thanks to redox molecules) learning is coming naturally!
The secret is out, at age 15, we were still experiencing cleaning-up poop smears but by God’s grace that is about to change!