ASA's 37th National Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders (July 13-15, 2006)
|Friday, July 14, 2006: 1:45 PM-3:00 PM|
|#2281- Individualized toilet training programs for children with autism spectrum disorders|
|This session will focus on recent advances in helping children with autism spectrum disorders acquire independent toileting skills. The presenter will share some best practices, data of children at a variety of ability and communication levels, and the interventions we used at home and school to develop independent toileting skills.|
|Presenter:||- Greg Valcante earned his Master’s degree in Special Education from the College of William and Mary in Virginia and his Ph.D. from the University of Florida. He has worked as a teacher, administrator and researcher in the area of autism for 29 years and is the Director of the University of Florida Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. Dr. Valcante is a long time member of ASA. He presented at last year’s ASA Conference in Nahsville, at previous ASA conferences in New Orleans and Atlanta and at the National Autistic Society Conference in London in September 2005.|
This session will focus on recent advances at the University of Florida Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (UF CARD) in helping children with autism spectrum disorders acquire independent toileting skills. The University of Florida CARD is a regional resource center that was established by the Florida Legislature and is in its thirteenth year of providing service to families, schools and agencies at no charge. Over 1,000 individuals with autism and related disabilities are registered with the Center. Our mission is to provide individual assistance, consultation and technical assistance, training and public education in 14 counties in North-Central Florida. As part of our training mission, the UF CARD has developed an approach to toilet training that is individualized and based on each child's abilities and disabilities. The approach takes into account not only the child's eating, drinking and elimination patterns but also the child's communication skills, mobility skills, need for routine, and family schedules and preferences.
The content of our session will reflect the presenters' experiences working with parents and teachers of young children with autism spectrum disorder. For many years, we have been working with teachers and parents who struggle to teach independent toileting skills to children who do not respond to the typical models of instruction. We have found that some current and common home and school toilet training programs do not address the unique learning needs of the individual with autism spectrum disorder. While many programs have proven effective for children and adults with a variety of disabilities, they frequently do not meet the broad needs of families who have children with ASD. These programs may be effective for families who have a wealth of time and personal resources but may not work so well for families who have one parent, families who have more than one child with special needs, or families who have other serious needs at the time the child is ready for toilet training.
Teaching toileting skills to children with autism has presented numerous challenges for families and teachers for many years. In fact, because of their communication deficits or the limitations of our ability to evaluate children with autism, many students were historically thought to be incapable of learning independent toileting skills. Parents and teachers are still hard-pressed to find creative ways to find the time to teach toileting skills to children with significantly limited vocabularies, difficulties with attention and challenging behavior. The ultimate goal of independent toileting was thought to be beyond the reach of some. Even more capable students with autism or Asperger's Disorder have had their success in toileting limited by “one size fits all” toilet training programs that do not address the child's their repetitive behaviors, difficulties with listening comprehension, and idiosyncratic motivations.
We will share some best practices for teaching independent toileting skills to individuals on the autism spectrum and strategies that have shown dramatic impact on the behaviors of some of the children we have worked with. These practices include assessing the child's related skills such as dressing and hand washing, using assistive technologies for communication, and providing a consistent program that is based on behavioral principals such as modeling, shaping and positive reinforcement. We will present the rationale for using an individualized approach to toilet training, along with methods used to informally assess readiness. We will share data from case studies of children at a variety of ability levels and the interventions we used at home and school to improve their toileting skills. These students range in age from 3 to13 years old, with a wide spectrum of communication, behavior and social challenges.
The participant learning objectives are to: 1) Identify assessment practices for understanding the child's readiness for toilet training, 2) Understand the procedures for developing a plan based on the individual child and family needs and abilities, 3) Familiarize participants with some technologies and materials that support toilet training for children with autism spectrum disorders.
See more of The ASA's 37th National Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders (July 13-15, 2006)