Recently Ellie has had so many great days. She is so much more alert and present in class. She is able to focus on work when before she could never sit still long enough to try. She goes to a school that is willing to give her accommodations like a quiet corner, sensory breaks and many other things. But what is great is she hasn’t needed them as much recently. She is learning what she needs to calm her body. She is still receiving OT in her classroom first thing in the morning. This gives her the input she needs to start the day regulated and more ready to learn.
The last piece of the puzzle for Ellie is getting her fully potty trained. She is still struggling in this department and cannot move on to the next level of schooling without this milestone being met. This is part of sensory processing disorder I did not anticipate. You could visibly see what parts of Ellie’s life were most effected by SPD, but there have been many unseen effects as well. Potty training has been harder for her than most kids because she lacks the ability to know she has to go until she’s had a slight accident. It is extremely discouraging to her and I. At first I struggled with acting frustrated in front of her. She was embarrassed and upset and in turn didn’t want me to help her. She was ashamed and I was making her feel that way, which breaks my heart. I was just so frustrating. When you hear your friends doing the three day potty training method and having great success it makes you resentful. Why can’t one thing be easy for her? Why can’s she seem to get it? Am I not being tough enough on her? These are all questions I asked myself because so many people want to give you advice about their kid and what worked for them. As this often comes from a place of wanting to help, you have to realize your child isn’t like theirs. That your child will have difficulties that others will not. They will have trouble with things that you may think should come easily. Ellie is not a neuro typical kid, so why am I applying the same expectations to her and her progress? Once I realized she cannot control that part of her and that she lacks maturity in that area, it made me feel terrible that I had made her feel less than. Now I can help her get cleaned up without showing her my frustration, but instead be encouraging. Sometimes that looks better that others, but I try to give her grace and help her to feel safe telling me. We talk a lot about how her body feels in certain situations. Like when she has to use the restroom. This helps her to acknowledge the feelings inside her body and make the association.
One of my biggest mistakes was in the beginning I treated her like I did my son. I didn’t realize this was a sensory issue as well. The urge to rush to the bathroom isn’t there for her yet, but also the noises and smells of the restroom can be enough to make a sensory kiddo child flip their lid. I’ve mentioned before that Ellie has an incredible sense of smell. Well, imagine that in a public bathroom. We all know that they are usually less than ideal in the smell category. She immediately notices the smell and then hears the many industrial strength toilets flushing. It doesn’t make for a great experience. Obviously at home I can control some of these factors, but not always. We have a set of noise cancelling headphones that help tremendously, but I have found that with Ellie just talking about what to expect helps the most. Before we enter the public bathroom I warn her that it might smell funny and it’s okay to plug her nose, or if I know that they have loud toilets and hand dryers just the preparation and warning can often help exponentially.
I also believe time is going to play the biggest part in this struggle. I know there are parts of her brain that are not mature enough right now and will continue to develop over time. Until then, we will trudge on and give her love and grace for this. Although I don’t have answers for you on the poop problem, I will continue the fight and try to do it without shame and laxatives that may make things worse for her. I am trying to help her get through this with natural remedies. I plan to address the diet and supplement changes we made for Ellie and how they have been a game-changer for Ellie in the coming posts.