Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Training

Don't worry, I won't post any humans-sitting-on-the-potty pictures. As an adult, I for one, am happy to know nothing of the sort was ever posted during my rite of passage from diapers to big girl underwear. Just a little thing I have, I know, but I just want my children to have the same luxury.

Over the past year I've watched with personal interest as numerous parents have posted potty training questions in forums for parents of blind children. Unfortunately, the best advice given is usually a simple, "Good luck." Apparently we're all treading in new waters and no one knows how to get our kids from simply treading to actually swimming. And in their defense, since many of our kids have multiple disabilities, there obviously isn't a one way fits all approach in this area.

But I'm a planner. And a teacher. I like goals and lesson plans. I want to know the steps that will need to be taken to get from lack of skill to mastery of skill.

I've gotten lots of advice from parents of sighted kids. Hello, people, I have been through this 6 times and had 100% success. My problem is not how to potty train, it's how to potty train a child who can't see.

Think about it: Your child developed readiness by seeing other family members use the bathroom and by recognizing (again, read: seeing) that adults and older children don't wear diapers. While training, your child could look into the toilet to see the fruits of his labors. Like my first 6 rounds of this potty training thing, you never thought about how much of the process is visual.

So I document our journey thus far not to gross out those who don't like to talk about these things (although think about it, aren't you glad someone took the time to do the not-so-fun in your childhood?), not to be placed on super hero status (Heaven knows I've been a miserable failure to this point), but to have something to share with other parents of visually impaired children. I recognize that one child's process is different from another's but maybe there's something to be gleamed here.

Victor is not only visually impaired but also sensory-challenged. Taking these two disadvantages, I knew that any success in this area was going to have to be step by small step. And the first step? Just learning to sit on the toilet. Not knowing which kind of seat was going to work best, we started out with two; one for the floor and one for the toilet seat.

The first attempts at getting his tush to even touch that seat with the hole in the middle was  quite comical. You'd think the commode had been filled with slithering butt-biting eels. So Step 1 was rewarded when he could successfully stand 1 square millimeter of his bum touching 1 square millimeter of the seat. Never mind that he was hanging on to me for dear life, give the child an M & M! And that was the first step. After a month and a half of that, he is a real pro at sitting on it now. In fact, I'd put him in the gifted category. He is well aware that sitting will get him an M & M so he requests to sit multiple times in a row.

And I think that's the pace that we're going to have to take throughout this whole process. I recently had 3 whole days with just Victor so instead of attempting to work on various projects that needed to be completed, we worked on the next step, understanding that those things you usually put in your diaper are really supposed to go somewhere else. My goal was just the next step but I have to admit there was a part of me that really hoped for a miracle.

It wasn't to be. At the end of three days, Victor was just slightly more successful than Elmo. But it's small steps, right?


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