A major aspect of autism is sensory-based triggers. My son doesn’t notice many things around him. Our youngest daughter, on the other hand, many things can trigger her. Most of the time, it’s a change in schedule or routine. When thinking of possible triggers, public restrooms are a definite trigger for sensory issues.
Autism: Public Restrooms and Sensory Issues
Today’s random trigger was the automatic flushing toilets at the mall. We don’t go to the mall very often this time we decided to go to an outside mall when we got there I decided to take the kids to the restroom now this is pretty normal for us it’s just one way to make sure we have less that’s what today however with a completely different Mall with a completely different bathroom.
Upon locking my own stall door, I can hear my daughter begin to fuss. I try to assess what is wrong 4 doors down from within my stall. After exiting, I find my daughter standing there mad and yelling about the “stupid toilet.” My 10-year-old daughter abandons ship and exits the bathroom to inform Daddy of the meltdown.
Now begins the ten-minute discussion on using these evil contraptions. She tells that they just go off whenever they feel like it and things of the such. Apparently, it’s my fault that there isn’t a way to turn them off.
That Automatic Flushing Toilet: The cause of our public restroom sensory issues!
I finally convince her that if she either need to sit on the toilet or pee herself. I honestly did tell her I didn’t care which she chose, but I preferred her to pick the first. Then the stand-off begins. She can’t pee (or even change her socks) with someone in the room with her but doesn’t want me to leave. Once again, it’s my fault and the door is slammed in my face. Now that the battle of getting her in there was over, I thought I was in the clear. Ya right!
Our arch-nemesis has struck! The automatic toilet flushed before she was done! Out she runs, yelling at me. I convenience her to calm down long enough to wash her hands. The rest of the day, she stays fixated on the evil automatic toilet at the mall. Those automatic flushing toilets had thrown our entire day off.
Sensory Issues: Just Part Of Raising A Child On The Spectrum
This is the day-to-day life of raising a child on the autism spectrum. For us, we have three on that are autistic. They are totally different, and therefore we have a higher chance of things like this happening several times a day in our home.
There are times that I can talk them through new or disliked scenarios. If I know in advance that is. Something like the automatic flushing toilets, I wasn’t expecting. Now on out, I will try to avoid those toilets for her when possible.
Restrooms and Sensory Issues: Our Solution
As for our solution to the automatic flushing toilets. We now carry post-it notes in our survival bag to place over the sensors before she goes in. This is an easy fix to the problem. It works and isn’t permanent. All I have to do is go in after she’s done, throw it away, and wash my hands. It works so much better than the ten-minute argument with her!
When possible, one of us will go into the restroom first. Having knowledge of how busy the restroom is if there are automatic toilets (or hand dryers) and just how loud it is makes everything easier!
The other thing we do is keep her noise-canceling headphones on hand at all times! The only major rule is that she cannot touch them at all while in the bathroom. I don’t think I have to explain that one lol.
Autism: Restrooms and Sensory Issues
When it comes to public places, there’s always a chance for a sensory trigger. Learning your child’s needs will greatly help reduce those triggers.
What is your best tip when it comes to restrooms and sensory issues? Let us know in the comments below!