Development of an information gathering tool for toileting children with autism spectrum disorder in a Special School Program. To ensure that all areas of the toileting process are considered during intervention, a systematic approach to information gathering is needed.
A Holistic Approach to a Toileting Assessment
Toilet training children on the Autism Spectrum is often complicated due to their unique communication styles, sensory needs, repetitive behaviours and comorbidities. To ensure that all areas of the toileting process are considered during intervention, a systematic approach to information gathering is needed. A comprehensive information gathering tool was developed by occupational therapists at a Giant Steps to guide toilet training intervention within the school setting and support families to generalise these skills in the home environment.
The information gathering tool examines the caregivers readiness and resources, medical considerations, diet, routine steps, independence skills, communication needs, sensory preferences and the bathroom environment. Information is gathered from both parents and teachers, as well as through task analysis. Ongoing toileting data is collected electronically for regular analysis. Occupational Therapists are able to collaboratively assess, set goals, plan intervention, evaluate and adapt toileting programs with information gathered from the tool across both the home and school environments.
From therapists’ perspectives, the information gathering tool has the benefits of: guiding practice, individualising interventions, supporting collaboration, ensuring all aspects are considered, and facilitating regular reviews. School staff and families report that regular reviews ensure strategies are relevant and concerns are addressed in a timely manner ensuring consistency. They reported that electronic data clearly demonstrates progress and highlights when changes are required. While it is anticipated that student outcomes have improved due to the implementation of the assessment tool, further formal evaluations of student outcomes will occur in the future.
A holistic approach is crucial for developing individualised toileting plans which consider the unique needs of the child, family and school. This tool guides therapists to develop effective strategies and collaborate with parents and teachers to achieve positive outcomes.
Special thanks to Kate Curtin for the illustrations created in the toileting resources.