Bowel and bladder training for kids with Sensory Processing disorder:

Bowel and bladder training for kids with Sensory Processing disorder


So, we all know that we have five senses

1. Vision
2. Smell
3. Touch
4. Taste
5. Hear

And Occupational therapists know that we also have 2 additional senses

6. Proprioception (where is my body in space)
7. Vestibular (where is my head and is it moving in relation to my body)

And another one which we need to know is called as INTEROCEPTION – may be you all know but I got to know of this just a few months back!!
So, what does it do?

It gives us an input about

1. thirst
2. hunger
3. digestion
4. bowel and bladder
5. Mood
6. temperature

Today, I wanted to write about the role of introception in the kids with sensory processing disorder.

Kids with bowel and bladder issues have difficulty with this interoceptive sense. It may be over or under responsive. Many of the kids do not understand about a full or empty bladder !!
I have had kids who do not go to potty for weeks and eat absolutely fine. Parents were not bothered because they were happy that the child was eating well. So he didn’t go for potty for 2 weeks. Clearly, his interoceptors are not giving him the signal that he needs to go to the toilet.

Another child was so uncomfortable to go to the potty that he would be happy to do in his diaper because he had poor balance and was scared to sit on the toilet seat.
I had another child who had such a heightened sense of smell that he would avoid going for potty because he could not tolerate the smell of it. Another child had tactile issues and he was too uncomfortable to sit on the toilet seat because he didn’t like the feel of it.

One teenager who came to me still talks about how difficult it is for him to get the signal of a full bladder /bowel and he can sense it only last minute when he has to really rush that he sometimes has an accident which makes him feel extremely embarrassed. He says “I really can’t sense it and I don’t know how it is so easy for everyone else.” Oh yes and how to forget-this same teenager still struggles with eye hand coordination issues and by the time he gets the signal and rushes –he is already stressed of the fact that he may have an accident coupled by poor eye hand coordination which makes it difficult for him to undress immediately.

With another girl that I worked, she thought that the she not defecate because she thought that the potty that was to be excreted was her own body part.

Most parents who come to us at Khushi ask us to make their kids independent in toilet training. They need get an insight about bowel and bladder training since most of them does not see the complete picture of how all the senses together make it difficult for a child with SPD to master bowel and bladder control and I am hoping that this small note on toilet training helps!!

Reena Singh

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