When I began teaching students with autism, many of my students were on special diets and/or had digestive issues that so often accompany the diagnosis. Since many of my students had difficulty communicating their daily elimination to their parents, it was again my responsibility to relay the vitals to the parents each day. However, simply listed a #1 or #2, the time, and the source of initiation was no longer acceptable. So many of my students were on medications or special diets that affected their bowel movements that parents wanted to know just what type of #2 was produced. Was it solid? Was it large? Was it green or brown? (or purple? and yes, I had that conversation) And the thing is, because I knew the journey each of these families was making and why each question was asked, I understood the significance. Those details, as gross as they may be to the unrelated person, were important to the child's treatment, so they were important to me.
By the way, I knew all these details because I was in the bathroom with the children, changing them, so often. Changes are a great learning opportunity in which we practiced communication, self-help skills, and fine motor skills. Some days, I could swear every kid waited until they were working with me one-on-one to poop, then let it all go while they were on my watch, leaving me to change six loaded diapers in five hours. I had no idea when I was in college how much of my teaching career would be spent either discussing bathroom patterns or changing diapers, but when
I was reminded of those conversations this weekend when a visit with friends, whose son is three weeks younger than Tye, turned to the babies' bowel patterns. Parents love their children so much that even their poop is worth talking about. We are now those parents. I talk about my daughter's poop.
Now that I've cleared the air on that topic (hehe), I thought I'd update on our ECing because, like I said, I talk about my daughter's poop. We started using Elimination Communication with Tye when she was two and a half months old, and since then, we've been having good success with the method. We aren't diaper-free, but I'm really happy with where we are. Every time we change Tye's diaper (every 45-90 minutes, depending on the time of day), Tye sits on the little potty chair in our bathroom. We've had at least one caught pee (in the potty) every day, even when traveling (then it's in the sink). When we're home, we usually only have 3-4 wet diapers all day. This makes laundering our cloth diapers a lot easier!
The biggest success for us has been in catching poops. Aside from the time I was pooped on in public and one full diaper on vacation, Tye has pooped in her potty for every bowel movement for the past few months (and probably 98% of her BMs since we started!). Sometimes I see or hear Tye getting ready to go (can I tell you how cute and dainty her grunts are? I love them!) and rush her to her potty. Other times, when provided a potty-tunity, she takes advantage of being on the potty and goes. A few times, she has yelled at me when I try to put on her diaper after a changing, so I give her more time on the potty and then she goes. Can I tell you how great this is? When she goes in the potty, there are no blowouts, no leaking, no diapers to rinse the poop off of. It changes diapering completely.
I haven't changed a poopy diaper in almost a month. I realized the other day that I'm changing fewer poopy diapers now than I have since I was a sophomore in college. And yet, here I am, talking about poop. Because I am that person. I talk about my daughter's poop. The other day, I texted Tyler a photo of Tye's poop. Yup. Some things never change... Or they just get better with technology.