Toilet training is a party at ABC of NC. But this developmental milestone is a serious matter for parents of children with autism. ABC of NC Child Development Center, a school for children with autism spectrum disorders, completed its 30th “potty party” this month meaning that students with autism learned to initiate and use the bathroom at home and in community settings. “It’s a calculated and systematic process,” said Cindy Andree-Bowen, BCBA, senior educational consultant.

According to Andree-Bowen, the school uses basics principles of behavior by rewarding the child for using the toilet successfully, but children with autism are often hard to reinforce and have issues with communications.

“So we plan carefully, arriving at the house before they wake up and stay all day to reinforce toileting as often as possible until they go to bed at night,” Andree-Bowen said.

“Potty Parties” are an important part of the menu of services at ABC of NC because most early education programs require toileting skills while children with autism often are delayed in “requesting” language and self-help abilities. As regular school personnel are not specifically trained to teach toileting, parents often need expert assistance teaching their children how to communicate a need to use the bathroom and visit it successfully. Plus, families find it easier to live with a child who is finished with diapers.

“I was totally blown away by the process and the quick success of our potty party,” said Penny Andrew about her four-year-old son’s recent toilet training program organized by ABC of NC.

“The ABC staff made it fun by staying focused on his success and breaking down the process into small victories. Because we planned ahead with great toys, games and lots of Tootsie Rolls, our son was basically trained in 48 hours. It was amazing!” said Andrew.

Andree-Bowen said that, even though the name is tongue-in-cheek, the at-home sessions really are a party.

“It is so wonderful to be a part of such an important milestone with the family as their child dons his or her first pair of underwear with pride while everyone cheers each success,” said Andree-Bowen.

ABC of NC offers free classes to parents and professionals who work with children with autism. The next class on “Diet Expansion, Toilet Training and Self-Help Skills” will take place on October 24, 2012, from 9:00-11:00 a.m. Contact ABC of NC at 336-251-1180 or for more information.

Sponsored by ABC of NC