Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Potty Training

I had a question from a blog reader about potty training.  I have to admit that although I successfully potty trained four kids, I really don't have a lot of ideas as all of my girls learned fairly easily. This subject isn't fresh in my mind either as it has been almost 3 years since K was potty trained but here are some of the things that I think helped:

Although we considered potty training readiness & waited until we thought K was ready, some things we worked on earlier such as:

We talked about bodily functions when she was really little & explained what was happening when she went.  We also used proper body part names so K would understand the terms associated with potty training.

Once we thought K was ready, I created a potty training story book with her as the star of the book.  In the book we talked about all of the steps to successfully using the bathroom including dressing, washing hands after including the hand washing steps, etc. Later we included pages with family members pictures saying how proud they were that K was using the potty.

I did read up on the 1 day / 3 day potty training method & followed some of those ideas although some of the concepts just seemed a little harsh to me (I'm such a softie:). Based on an idea from that method we did try to set aside some time to be able to be very consistent at taking K to the potty & tried to encourage her to drink lots of fluids in order to give her lots of opportunities to practice.

Once we got started we tried to leave K in panties except at night time & rare occasions when we just couldn't chance an accident. We wanted to be consistent & our expectation was that she should use the bathroom now so we didn't want to confuse her by switching back to pullups or diapers.

We tried to be matter of fact about accidents & spoke in a positive manner about what we expected from her.

We gave K the opportunity to help with dressing, choosing panties, which bathroom she would like to use etc, so she felt that she had some control.

We purchased this potty. K loved the fact that it played music when she went & was more motivated to use it.  

Some families have success with sticker charts but K was not at all motivated by that method. 

That's all I can think of for now but here are a couple of links from some forums that give lots more ideas:

Here is a discussion with some ideas on Potty Training

Here is a potty training discussion on forum that has some parents of older kids with DS.

Please feel free to add any potty training tips you have by commenting below.  Thanks & good luck!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What is a Hero?

Recently in the news headlines was a story about a waiter who stood up for a little boy with Down syndrome after another customer in the restaurant made the comment that "special needs children need to be special somewhere else". Michael Garcia, their waiter, refused to serve that customer & they left the restaurant.

The stories, like this one, have come up time & time again on the internet, Down syndrome forums & on Facebook. The other day I punched the words "Heroic waiter boy with Down syndrome" into google & was instantly rewarded with 211000 hits. My first reaction was "That's nice, the waiter did the right thing" but as the week went by & the stories, kept coming up I found myself stewing about it.

Michael Garcia did the right thing - he stood up for a fellow human being who was being treated fairly. What bothers me is that this simple act of human decency is being treated as a heroic act simply because the little boy named  Milo has Down syndrome.

Again, what Michael did was totally appropriate in my opinion but hero is the person who goes above & beyond what is expected to do the right thing. Someone who does something the average person wouldn't do & wouldn't be expected to do, perhaps even something as drastic as placing their own life in danger.

If we expect our kids with Down syndrome to be treated appropriately I think we need to expect that treatment for them & they need to expect that treatment for themselves. People who stand up for them aren't heroes.  They are decent people who are behaving honorably & isn't that how we should behave around everyone? Most importantly, isn't that what our family members & friends with disabilities should expect? That they should have the same respect from society in general as everyone else would expect?

Michael Garcia isn't a hero in my opinion & we shouldn't be celebrating this as a heroic deed needing applause & accolades.  He is a good man & while we should be appreciating that he did what was appropriate but this shouldn't be unusual enough behaviour to make a news story. Everyone should feel outraged when another human is treated this unfairly  & we should also have the guts to act on it.

............ to Michael, if you ever chance to read this, thank you.  You did a good job.

To the customer who started this with his mean, bullying words, I hope the public outcry has helped you to understand how wrong you are & that you feel the shame that you rightfully should.

After I wrote this, & before I decided whether it would annoy too many people & if I was going to post it or not, I stumbled across this post on Dave Hingsburger's blog entitled Rolling Around in my Head which I read occasionally. 

Wow - he made a good point.  I don't always agree with Dave but I often do & he always gets me thinking which is great. I wrote a post entitled I am my Daughter's Voice about a year & a half ago & addressed the fact that although my daughter couldn't stand up for herself yet that eventually when she was old enough that I expected her to do so as well as to stand up for others who aren't able to do it themselves. There  will always be some people with disabilities who aren't able to speak for themselves & that is when people such as Michael Garcia need to speak up but its also when you & I need to speak up & one day when K is old enough I expect her to speak up too.  Not because we are heroes but because that it simply appropriate thing to do because people with disabilities deserve respect.

I'd love to hear your comments on either my posts or Dave's.