Ryan Answers Readers’ Questions on Toilet Training, Early Memories, and Interactions With Other Kids

Emma writes:  “My son is not potty trained but wants to be, but it seems his body has a hard time cooperating, any advice?”

MY ADVICE IS BRING HIM TO THE BATHROOM ON A SCHEDULE.  MY TEACHER MADE ME DO THIS.  I LEARNED IT THAT WAY.  Ryan, I know this mom and she would do anything for her son.  She may have already done a schedule.  What if she has and that hasn’t worked?  SO QUIETLY HELP HIM WEAR UNDERPANTS.  Why did you use the word quietly?  UNDERSTAND YOUR IMAGINING VERY COMPLEX BODY MOVEMENTS AND THEY DONT WANT TO COOPERATE.  So when you say quietly, does that mean so as to not embarrass him?  YES.  SO KNOW THAT HE WANTS TO LEARN.  IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO DO SO.  EACH DAY TRY TO HELP HIM NOW.  YOU WILL GET HIM TO DO IT.

I really do credit Ryan’s preschool teacher and her team with toilet training Ryan.  She made it her mission to do this for all of the kids in her classroom and came up with a thorough plan and used it for almost 30 years!  I think that she told me that there was only one child that she could not train in all of her classes and that was due to a medical issue.  I am very thankful for her as Ryan was apparently “so far behind” in all of the developmental milestones, but was toilet trained at 4 years old.  I really cannot take any credit for this.  Alex O’Brien, Cher Harris, and Eileen Martin, if you are reading this, I owe you guys big time!

Christine writes:  “Our family was just talking about Ryan today.  I was talking to my kids about how we used to walk with Ryan every day and how they always ate a banana on the ride.  They don’t remember eating bananas, but they do remember walking with Ryan.  They asked me if I thought that Ryan remembered them.  My question to Ryan is, what are some of your earliest memories?”

So I was actually nervous to ask Ryan this question.  Soma Mukhopadhyay writes about “episodic memory” in her books.  One of the providers that Ryan has worked with, Lenae Crandall of HEED RPM, wrote the following on her website:

“Episodic Memory- Episodic Memory is memory of past events. All of us struggle with accuracy on this. In fact, every time we revisit a memory we change it a little- unintentionally of course. So for those with brain under-connectivity this is more likely to happen.”  

Lenae goes on to write that “Memory involves LEARNING, UNDERSTANDING, and CONSCIOUSNESS. What we experience is stored in BITS and PIECES in the brain. When we go to remember we have to pull from different places (or retrieve), put together and then communicate the thoughts. this is a lot of networking so you can see how it would get more jumbled in Autism.”  More can be found at http://heedrpm.com/episodic-memory-and-autism/

So I asked Ryan, “Do you remember Adelaide and Cole (Christine’s children)?”  YES.

His reply to Christine’s question was the following:  SOME OF MY EARLIEST MEMORIES ARE YOU READING BOOKS TO ME. NOT MUCH ELSE.  Do you remember your favorite books from that time?  NOT REALLY.  KNOW MY MEMORY IS NOT GOOD ABOUT MUCH AS A BABY.  So it seems like Ryan’s response is in line with what Soma and Lenae both have written about.

Ryan answered one more question this afternoon.  John wrote the following:  “Hello, Ryan and hello, Stephanie.  Thank you for your posts. I am learning a lot from them. They sometimes make me cry because they are poignant and beautiful, but it’s a good kind of crying.

A friend of mine’s son is autistic and is 9 years old. I often don’t know what to say or how to act so I will try your advice in this post. My question to both of you is for similar advice about how to include/interact with my friend when all of our children are together? It can be uncomfortable if her son is having a rough day or my own children are asking awkward questions.

I somehow feel it is easier for me to socialize with an autistic child than for me and my family to socialize with an autistic child and his or her family. Does that make sense? Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you for your writing. I think it’s wonderful.”

Ryan’s response:  SO ONE OF THE WAYS YOU CAN INCLUDE YOUR KIDS IN THE INTERACTION IS BY ASKING THEM NOT TO ASK AWKWARD QUESTIONS.  Ryan, sometimes kids may ask questions or say things because they don’t know any better.  What would you say to that?  YOU CAN EXPLAIN THAT WE ARE NORMAL ON THE INSIDE AND THAT WEIRD QUESTIONS SOMETIMES HURT OUR FEELINGS.  SO KNOW THAT WE ARE VERY SENSITIVE.  YOUR ACTIONS LEAVE LASTING IMPRESSIONS.  SO REMEMBER SOMETIMES YOU HOIST YOURSELF ONE LESSON AT A TIME.  YOU (John) ARE VERY KIND TO BE ASKING YOUR QUESTIONS HERE.

I will leave you all with this, Ryan is very sensitive.  I will be writing this week about how he has been affected by being apart from his dad, Randy, during our transition for our move.  That is going to be a post that you won’t want to miss!
 


4 thoughts on “Ryan Answers Readers’ Questions on Toilet Training, Early Memories, and Interactions With Other Kids

  1. I often wonder if Ryan remembers us as well. All the times we visited each other for weekend sleepovers. I know my kids remember him well but I wonder if Ryan remembers. So many great memories! We miss you guys!

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  2. I’m confident Ryan doesn’t remember us as we only had the pleasure of seeing your kids a few times, but Shannon and I are really enjoying these updates Steph. The blog is wonderful and we’re so happy for the progress Ryan has made. All the best to y’all. We miss seeing you as well.

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  3. I am just speechless, and feeling a little like crying. Ryan’s words are so…poignant mature insightful deep understanding honest smart….who knew….I can see him being an activist in time, like the woman faculty member at CU Boulder…Stephanie you are amazing…Love to All, Karen

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