Autism and Incontinence
April 29, 2019
Autism isn’t a single disorder, but a spectrum of different types, also known as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Each person with autism has different challenges and strengths. Autism is generally characterized by challenges with speech and nonverbal communication, social skills, and repetitive behaviors (learn more from Autism Speaks). People with autism are at a higher risk to develop or experience incontinence compared to those who do not have autism. People with autism can have multiple types of incontinence due to their condition, and this can change how incontinence is managed.
The primary types of incontinence experienced by children (or adults) with autism are:
- Urge incontinence
- Functional incontinence
- Bowel incontinence
- Difficulties toileting
The Types of Incontinence with Autism
Urge Incontinence. Urge incontinence is when a person has a sudden urge to urinate that is so strong it cannot be held. The person is unable to get to the bathroom quickly enough before their bladder leaks. Children with autism can experience urge incontinence if there is a disconnect between the muscles in the bladder and the brain. The signal exchange between the bladder and the brain work to notify you that you need to use the restroom, and this connection may be impaired due to autism. In some cases, the child does not recognize the urge to urinate or don’t recognize it until it is too late, causing an accident or leakage.
Functional Incontinence. Functional incontinence is when a person cannot get to the bathroom fast enough. Those with autism may not be able to locate or get to a restroom when they need to go.
Bowel Incontinence. Bowel incontinence is the involuntary loss of fecal matter. It has been shown that children with autism are delayed in developing bowel control compared to children who do not have autism.
Difficulties Toileting. Children with autism may be slower to develop the ability to use the toilet on their own. There is difficulty knowing when to use the toilet, communicating the need to go, getting to the toilet, cleaning themselves, and using different toilets. There are resources available for parents who are working to help their child learn to use the toilet.
How Incontinence Products Can Help Along the Way
Often, people with autism can learn to control incontinence, although developmental difficulties will likely make it take a little longer. During this time, incontinence products can be a huge help to parents and caregivers, easing the difficulties and stress of accidents. Knowing an accident will be contained, and skin will be protected from wetness and rashes, can give parents and caregivers added peace of mind. The right overnight product can even provide a good night’s sleep!
Tranquility products have designed youth diapers to bridge the gap from baby diapers to adult diapers. Tranquility has pull-on style and tape-tab style diapers in youth size up to adult sizes. If your child has outgrown baby diapers and is still having accidents (urinary or fecal), Tranquility has the solutions you need to keep your child protected while learning to control their incontinence and use the toilet. Additionally, some of our diapers are covered under Medicaid or waiver programs!
Real Stories with Autism
Read the testimonials below to see how Tranquility has helped the lives of families dealing with autism.
“My son has multiple disabilities, including global developmental delays, hypotonia, autism, and epilepsy. As he approached each birthday, I realized that potty training wouldn’t be a reality for him until about age 8 to 10 years. By age 5, my son had outgrown all of the diaper’s mothers buy in stores for their babies and toddlers. I was at a loss of what to purchase for him until doing an online search and finding an offer of free samples from Tranquility. My son is now six years old and has been wearing Tranquility for over 1 year and will continue to wear them until potty trained. They are perfect for my son!” – K.M.
“My six-year-old son, who has CP and Autism, would wake up 3 times per night, soaking wet. Once we started using the Tranquility ATN he finally can get a good night’s rest.” – J.V.
If you need assistance finding the right product or want to talk to a professional about the challenges you are having with incontinence, our team is here to help! Call us at 1-866-865-6101 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET to speak to an expert about your incontinence questions.
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