Wednesday, May 23, 2012
The doctor took a urine culture and examined him. He said that there was no physical problem with Kai. In his opinion, this is a behavior issue.
I wondered if he would have come to the same conclusion if he had not known that Kai has autism.
Not that I necessarily disagree.
One of the challenges of having a child with autism is deciphering symptoms and trying to figure out if there is a medical problem.
For instance, Kai will frequently say that his stomach hurts, but often we will think that it is his way of trying to get out of an activity he does not want to do, or to keep from eating something he doesn’t want to eat.
In similar ways, he will complain that his leg hurts or his back hurts or something similar. How are we to know for sure whether or not he is really feeling any pain?
With this latest issue with the frequent bathroom visits, we do not see a pattern of him trying to avoid activities. He just seems to really have to go. Sometimes, he will go to pee only a few minutes after he just did. But his need to urinate does not seem to be only in his mind; even when he goes again so soon, he does pee a fair amount most of the time.
We discussed our latest quandary about the frequent bathroom visits with his therapist at school. Kai had been asking to use the bathroom quite frequently there as well.
Since the doctor ruled out a medical problem, the therapist and staff at school decided to treat this as a behavioral issue. They said that this behavior is not uncommon, particularly with boys.
They told Kai that he would be allowed to use the bathroom once every other period. They set up a visual schedule for him, but he became very anxious about having to hold it for so long. After a day or two, the school eased the schedule to permit one visit every period.
Earlier this week, Kai went to the bathroom four times during a 45-minute session with his speech therapist. At one point, he looked extremely uncomfortable and said that he was in pain. And then, even though he used the bathroom right before leaving, he could not hold it and wet his pants in the car on the drive home.
So now we have made an appointment with a specialist.
There is a part of us that hopes the doctor finds a medical problem. That way we would know what is going on and, hopefully, be able to treat it.
If this doctor finds that nothing is physically wrong with Kai, we will have to find ways to change his bathroom habits. And that will not be easy.