Autism & Asperger's Syndrome Expert Forum
Using the toilet
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Using the toilet

Hi,

I teach adult learners with special needs.  One of my learners is on the spectrum.  He's non-verbal but has a good level of understanding.  However, he has never learnt to go to the toilet appropriately and manages to piddle just about everywhere except into the toilet bowl!  He lives with his mother and two sisters.  There are no male role-models around and he does not socialise with anybody.  I am about to create a visual (and simple English) step-by-step laminate to using the toilet.  However, at 21 year's old, is this likely to be effective? Is there an alternative way to solve this?
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Adults with disabilities certainly can be taught to use the toilet appropriately, and the sort of teaching you would use with a child is often still effective.  A common method of doing this involves blocking out a few hours, giving him lots to drink, and bringing him to the toilet to give him the opportunity to practice.  If the issue is "aim" rather than him having accidents, a way to address that is to arrange differential reinforcement for accuracy on his part.  Having a visual stimulus prompt (as you suggest) along with instruction and reinforcement (i.e., praise) when he hits the right spot all sound like good ideas in this case.
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Many thanks for your response and tips.  It is very much a 'hold and aim' issue with him, rather than him just having 'accidents'.  Very much appreciated advice and I'll make sure it's also passed onto his family.
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Jason C Bourret, Ph.D., BCBA-DBlank
The New England Center for Children
Southborough, MA
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Richard B. Graff, PhD, BCBA-DBlank
New England Center for Children
Southborough, MA
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