Let me start by saying, toilet training an Autistic child -- ESPECIALLY when they are on the more SEVERE end of the spectrum -- is not fun or easy. Honestly, It's something we've been dealing with for a long, long time at the Hayes residence, and I'm happy to say, today, we've made a breakthrough--BECAUSE MY WIFE IS A GENIUS!!!
First, I should explain, that due to his Autism, Lincoln, thinks in pictures... Because of that, you'd find many group of pictures, like these, around our house:
This was put under the kitchen sink, a few years ago, to help him understand how to wash his hands... We have hundreds of these little pictures, and a book to put them in, for when we venture out of the house to try something new or potentially stressful...
For example, the photo of the picture-schedule, below, was for his school field trip, last Friday... They learned about tadpoles, frogs, metamorphosis, and turtles. They visited a pond, then ate lunch & played:
Lincoln LOVES routine, and he LOVES being on a schedule--A picture-schedule helps him understand, in a quick glance, what he'll be doing, and what is expected of him. It helps lessen his already high level of anxiety, and does all of this 1000x faster than talking. Understand, we still talk to him, and tell him what he'll be doing, etc, but, the picture-schedule is an extra level of security for him, us, and all those involved.
Here is a quick video of Dr. Temple Grandin -- who is Autistic -- explaining how she thinks:
Second, also, due to his Autism, Lincoln, has what is known as a "special interest." This is a topic or subject that an Autistic person will obsess or focus, intently, on.... We all have things we are really interested in. You may have a favorite band, show or hobby. It's the same for someone on the spectrum, but, like all things Autism, multiply it by 1000!
Lincoln has 2 special interests: Maps & Disney World. Simply put, Lincoln has the incredible ability to memorize maps, and he's an absolute wizard on Google Earth / Google Maps. He also LOVES building 3D models of maps.
In a world that they perceive as both scary & confusing -- Especially when it doesn't tend to jive with the way their senses compute it -- "The special interest" is something that gives immense happiness, joy & comfort to an Autistic person.
For more on this topic, if you're interested, check out this video:
All this being said, MY GENIUS WIFE, had a GENIUS idea!
She took the way he thinks in pictures, and combined it with his special interests... And, now, this is on our living room wall:
You see, every time he goes to the potty, Lincoln, gets to pick a picture of a ride / attraction, and use them to build a map of Magic Kingdom on our living-room wall!!!
Today, for the first time, after years of trying, Lincoln is using the bathroom like a big-boy! Since taking the above picture, hes added Space mountain & The Entrance / Train Station to his map!!! Yes, today, for the first time in almost 6 years, I haven't had to change a dirty diaper!
So, just to reiterate: MY WIFE IS A GENIUS!!!