Issues with Constipation, Withholding and Reading Internal Bathroom Cues in Children

I had decided to write about this following a conversation with another health professional that specializes in this area contacted us for a referal. Recognizing individual differences through Back Mountain Music Therapy’s developmental approach, one thing we have seen often in our sessions is the start of self regulation with these issues. No guardian has ever brought their child to us asking for help, nor has this issue ever been identified to us directly as an issue at the onset of therapy.

Since we have begun this process unknowingly so often, I feel it is a subject to talk about. Many parents agonize and give excessive time and attention to these issues. Additionally, as I have investigated this, very often the meds that are prescribed, may ….may provide some relief, however if used over time with regularity, actually make the natural and normal process much more difficult in the long run.

As I have consulted with other professions recently, who also work developmentally, we have come to the same conclusions on “why” this process begins in our sessions without our intent. Firstly, I have never directly worked on this , nor any other behavior, nor do we directly write goals for elimination of behaviors, nor compliance, nor “appropriate” behaviors. We look at each child, their individual differences and where they are developmentally and help them move up the developmental tree with their ability to self regulate and develop their thinking and relating skills.  When a child or individual moves up the tree, the sensory roots have to work together evenly to do that. The more development moves upward, the broader the base of the tree (shared attention, self awareness) becomes. In addition, as we utilize a predictable, regular rhythm, we often help the body regulate, as the body also has natural rhythm to its function. The child is therefore provided with an environment that works off of what the child’s signals tell us and ultimately provides a calm, predictable and engaging surrounding.

As I have mentioned, we have not set goals for this area specifically, but here are some of the many scenarios we have experienced first hand at Back Mountain Music Therapy:

  1. The child asked me to use the bathroom in the middle of the session. As I took the child to the parent and reported that he had to use the bathroom, the mother asked how I knew that. I told her he said he had to use the bathroom. She reported to me that he had never said that before.
  2. The child had a very different session from their typical sessions. The session had been slower and lower energy than we typically had been used to. (The reason for this was to work with what the child presented to us). At the end of the session, as I got up to walk her out the door, I noticed her back side was a little wet. I let mom know my findings. During the following weeks, mom had reported to us, that ever since that session, the child had begun to let mom know when she had to use the bathroom.
  3. We have had numerous sessions over the years where we can see that the child (by their facial affect and postures) are starting the elimination process in the session. It has been reported to us by many parents, guardians, and teachers, that (most of the time, the child is also heavily medicated for the issues) music therapy is the only place where the elimination process is taking place.

The reasons we write developmental goals versus behavioral goals is because behaviors are often  symptoms to issues that individuals cannot either identify nor express. Eliminating behaviors is like squeezing an air filled balloon, you might get the air to leave the area the pressure is on, but it will show up somewhere else, often to a greater degree. We have found that stressing one area to get relief, results in discomfort to other areas, symptoms or behaviors. It appears to me that as the child gets older, they then end up with labels such as OCD, ODD, and other mental health issues. Then guess what, time for a new med. 

Our developmental way of working at Back mountain Music Therapy not only helps an individual self- regulate and develop their thinking and relating, but also helps individuals integrate their behaviors into healthier development.

#childhood elimintation issues, #kids and contipation, #with-holding,#sensory issues,#anxiety and stress

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