OPTIMIST Someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it's more like a cha-cha

Doing the Dance (knowing when to step forward and when to step back)

Have you ever had a situation in your life when you weren’t sure whether to take a step forward or take a step back?

OPTIMIST Someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it's more like a cha-cha

The last few weeks of potty training have been a challenge. Potty training a 7-year-old with special needs is a bit of a dance. There’s some spins (spinning in circles in protest to more practice), some up and down movement (practicing coordination), some cheers and applause, and (sadly) some fumbles. (Click the links for more details on our potty training challenges.)

The need for constant focus and lots of practice has been difficult. In the world of special needs, we call the knowing when to take a step forward and when to take a step back “doing the dance.” Today is officially 2 weeks of potty training. It’s been a bumpy road. We’ve been distracted, and lost our focus but haven’t given up.

We have taken a step forward (potty training at home) and taken a step back (wearing pull-ups at school and out in public.) Our first accident free day was the 10th day of potty training. A whole day of staying dry between trips to the bathroom every 20 minutes! It’s progress – not perfection – I’m after.

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence." Helen Keller

After 10 days, we were so close to success, I wasn’t sure whether to send him back to school. Stephen often has a difficult time generalizing new skills (doing new things in other environments.) This is not unusual for children with autism and special needs.

The Guidelines for a Potty Training Program – by Foxx and Azrin – “Toilet Training Persons with Developmental Disabilities” suggests potty training on a schedule (a.k.a. trip training) every 30 minutes. We started at every 20 minutes – with “dry checks every 5 minutes. We’ve been able to increase the time between trips to 25 minutes. I feel like I’m training for a marathon! (Whew – sighs with exhaustion)

In order to avoid embarrassment and bullying at school we opted to use pull-ups for inclusion time (with normally developing peers) and trip training in the special ed classroom only. This is not the best way to generalize new skills – but after watching the video below – I think maybe I made a wise choice.

When I watched this video, I was horrified. The teacher taunts a 10-year-old autistic boy in her class. To top it off the teacher and the principal are accused of playing it several times on a large screen tv for the class to watch, and distributing it to co-workers and buddies “for laughs.”

Our son is completely non-verbal and he’s unable to communicate any problems at school. We know when he’s happy because he’s eager to leave in the morning. We know when he’s unhappy by his protests.

Our son often gets stuck under the kitchen table. He doesn’t have the coordination to duck his head and crawl out at the same time. Yes it is humorous at times…

There is a difference between smiling in amusement at the silly things kids do and bullying…

I’d rather think of potty training as “doing the dance” and remember some days will be better than others. I’m not much of a dancer myself but this analogy brings back fond memories of dancing with my grandfather. When I was small he’d hold me, sing to me, and dance with me in his arms. When I got a little bigger he’d have me step on his feet while he danced me around and spun me in circles…

This post is in response to: Daily Prompt: Let’s Dance | The Daily Post

13 thoughts on “Doing the Dance (knowing when to step forward and when to step back)”

    1. Thank-you! Glad you enjoyed my post 🙂 I’ll have a busy weekend preparing to move and I’ll think of your comment brightening my weekend! Do something fun for me this weekend – please? 😉


Any thoughts? Feel free to comment!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s