Sammy, a five-year-old boy on the autism spectrum, was still wetting his pants and had to wear pull-up diapers. His parents, in collaboration with his teachers, tried everything to get Sammy potty trained, to no avail.
Over a two-year period of working with us, Sammy had made great strides. Given his high level of functioning, I wondered why he still had this problem. It occurred to me that aside from the possibility that Sammy didn’t want to be bothered going to the bathroom while he was busy doing other things, that perhaps his brain was not perceiving the difference between wet and dry clearly enough.
So the next session, I took two wash cloths, one that was wet and the other dry. I told Sammy to tell me, without looking, whether I was touching him with the wet cloth, or the dry one. I first touched him on the back of his lower legs. He misidentified both the wet and the dry.
At that point, I moved to his face where there is a lot more innervation between the face and the brain, (i.e., a lot more potential for perception of differences). There, Sammy identified both the wet and the dry sensations accurately.
I then did the same on his legs, on his back, then the back of his pelvis, and the top of his buttocks.
Not only did Sammy identify all correctly, he also got faster and faster and more refined in his identifications.
Sammy has not wet his pants since this session.
View the video below to see Sammy learning how to differentiate between “wet” and “dry.”
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