Elaine trained as an Occupational Therapist before working as a tutor for children with autism on early intervention programmes. She has had experience of supporting children with special educational needs in mainstream schools adapting the curriculum to make it accessible. Through her work in the home she taught helped parents to support their child?s learning, implemented behaviour plans and assisted with teaching self help skills for example toilet training, self-feeding and dressing. After the birth of her first child, Elaine started Littlesheep Learning www.littlesheep-learning.co.uk an online store with an ever-growing range of teaching and learning materials to help all those who work with children.
The easy answer is when they are ready. Assuming you have a child with no additional needs if you wait for them to initiate it life is much simpler for you, most children show signs of readiness to begin using the toilet between 18 months and 3 years of age. These signs include staying dry for at least 2 hours at a time, having regular bowel movements, being able to follow simple instructions, being uncomfortable with dirty nappies and wanting them to be changed, asking to use the potty / toilet, or asking to wear regular underwear. It is not a good time to try toilet training at the time of any major upheavals foe example birth of a new sibling, starting pre-school or moving house.
Firstly make it fun - try painting with water on a patio or wall, playing doodle games or writing in sand trays or on whiteboards. If it is holding a pencil that is tricky, using triangular pencils and grips (available from Littlesheep Learning) can help children develop the correct grip.
To find a private or independent professional follow the links on the professional organisations websites. For an educational psychologist look at the British Psychological Society, for an occupational therapist check out the British Association of Occupational Therapists, for a physiotherapist search for the Society of Chartered Physiotherapists and for a speech and language therapist look at the Royal College of Speech and Language.
If you think your child is struggling at school or nursery speak to their teacher, SENCo or head teacher for advice. You can also request statutory assessment yourself, look on the IPSEA website for more information about doing this.
If your child is under five contact your health visitor or GP explain your concerns. If you have a school aged child speak to your childs teacher or the school Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) or school nurse.