Incontinence Support and Product Solutions for Children with Autism

Incontinence Products and Support for Children with Autism

April is Autism Awareness Month, which is a great time to learn more about autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and its relationship to incontinence. Often when people think of urinary incontinence, they may believe it only affects elderly people. In reality, incontinence can affect anyone of any age or gender at any time.

If you are a parent or caregiver for a child with autism who is struggling with incontinence, we understand it can be a challenge. However, with the right insurance-covered incontinence products from a trustworthy supply provider, you can start getting relief from these issues.

Why Do Children With Autism Have Incontinence?

Incontinence can affect many kids with special needs, including autism, Down syndrome, spina bifida, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, and more. While not all children with autism deal with fecal or urinary incontinence, others do. This can sometimes become a struggle for their parents or caregivers without support.

Many autistic kids on the spectrum have behavioral challenges, such as resistance to changes in their routine. Some may be aware they need to urinate but are physically or mentally unable to get themselves to a bathroom in time, which is known as functional incontinence. Other children may not be able to communicate when they need to use the bathroom. Some autistic children have issues primarily with nighttime bedwetting, which is also known as nocturnal enuresis.

Ultimately, it appears that autism-related incontinence is due in part to the behavioral, functional, and/or cognitive challenges that sometimes come with being on the autism spectrum.

children with autism and incontinence

Tips for Handling Your Autistic Child’s Incontinence Issues

1. Make an appointment to see your child’s doctor.

First, visit your child’s pediatrician or another prescribing doctor. They can rule out any physical issues that may cause incontinence, such as a neurogenic bladder. Then they’ll likely come up with a management plan, which may include the use of incontinence products for children.

In addition, if you want insurance-covered incontinence products for your child, you may need a prescription and/or doctor’s notes. Depending on your insurance plan, they may also require authorization before covering incontinence supplies. However, luckily, most insurance plans including Medicaid plans, typically cover incontinence products for children when and if they are medically necessary.

autism incontinence pediatrician doctor

2. Create a plan to approach your child’s incontinence.

When it comes to dealing with your child’s incontinence, the best way to tackle it is by making a plan. Also, stay patient and understanding with them as well as with yourself. However, by creating a new routine and staying persistent with it, together, you and your child can find a new normal.

This plan may involve creating a specific schedule with timers that remind you at regular intervals when it’s time for a bathroom break.

Plan ahead for certain activities and events. If your child attends school or daycare, it’s a good idea to have a conversation with the teacher, principal, and/or teacher’s aides so they can also be prepared for situations that may arise.

3. Get the right incontinence products for your child.

Incontinence products are not “one-size-fits-all.” Different products offer different features for various situations and body types.

You may need to consider any or all of the following factors to determine which incontinence supplies may work best for your child:

  • Type of incontinence (urinary, fecal, or a combination of both)
  • The level of incontinence (mild to heavy)
  • Body size
  • Activity levels
  • Level of odor controls
  • Washable or disposable preference

As you can see, many factors play a part in which incontinence products may work best for your child with autism. No wonder it can seem like a challenge! That’s where 180 Medical’s fully-trained Incontinence Specialists can step in to help and support you.

We’ll listen to your needs and preferences while following your doctor’s treatment plan. Then together, we’ll customize an order that’s just right for your child.

What Type of Incontinence Product is Right for My Child with Autism?

As mentioned above, a lot of factors go into determining which types, sizes, and absorbency levels fit best. Our Incontinence Specialists will gladly help you navigate your options, including some of the below popular product types.

Children’s Diapers and Disposable Briefs

Diapers and briefs for children and adolescents are popular incontinence products for kids. This is due to their high absorbency levels, which can often handle both fecal and urinary incontinence issues and heavy outputs. Plus, youth diapers for special needs are easy to put on and take off, thanks to adhesive tabs and tear-away features.

Many brands also feature wetness indicators to help you know when it’s time to change. Disposable youth diapers with this type of indicator can be especially helpful to caregivers of autistic children who are nonverbal or can’t fully communicate their needs.

wetness indicator

Depending on the brand of youth diapers for special needs, you may find features such as leg cuffs that offer additional leakage protection as well as ventilated fabric to reduce skin irritation.

Take a look at some of the available children’s diapers and briefs at 180 Medical:

Youth Training Pants and Pull-On Protective Underwear

If your child with autism experiences nocturnal enuresis (nighttime bedwetting), youth pants or pull-on training underwear for children could be a good option. These are typically less bulky than diapers or briefs. Thus, they’re slimmer and more discreet for wearing underneath clothes.

training pants for children incontinence

Youth pants and pull-on disposable underwear for special needs often look, feel, and act like real underwear. They may also help catch accidents between scheduled bathroom breaks if you’re actively working with your child on potty-training.

Plus, training pants and disposable children’s underwear often include features such as odor-locking absorbent cores, breathable fabrics, and wetness indicators.

See below for a selection of some of the options we carry:

Underpads (Chux)

Underpads, which are also known as bed pads or chux, add security from leaks to your mattresses and furniture. It’s a helpful backup option for many parents and caregivers to help protect your child’s bedding and mattress from stains, odors, leaks, and damage due to nighttime bedwetting. Plus, they offer protection to wheelchairs, chairs and couches, dining room chairs, floors, and anywhere else your child may be.

autism incontinence underpads chux

Incontinence underpads are available in various sizes and absorbency levels. While some prefer reusable bed pads, others prefer disposable underpads they can easily discard.

Today’s underpads, such as the popular Tranquility Select Ultra Thin Underpads, are breathable and less bulky while offering more security.

Here are a few of the underpads 180 Medical offers:

Booster Pads

Booster pads aren’t like bladder control pads that fasten by adhesive to regular underwear. This incontinence product type only works with another absorbent product like children’s diapers or training pants to provide an additional “boost” of absorbency and leakage protection.

booster pads incontinence autism

Because booster pads do not have a waterproof backing, they cannot be used alone in regular underwear. However, many parents and caregivers find booster pads extremely useful for extending the life of the other incontinence products their child may be wearing.

You may be interested in learning more about some of the booster pads we carry like the following:

These are just a few of the most popular incontinence product types for children, adolescents, and teens.

Incontinence Specialists at 180 Medical

Will Insurance Cover Incontinence Products for My Child with Autism?

Yes, many health insurance plans, including the majority of state Medicaid programs, will cover incontinence products when they are medically necessary.

Ready to start getting insurance-covered incontinence products? At 180 Medical, we understand that you’re dealing with unique challenges as a parent or caregiver of a child with autism and incontinence. Our compassionate specialists aim to fully support you, listen to your needs, and find the appropriate products to make your life a little easier.

We’re in-network with Medicare and state Medicaid plans, as well as a wide and continually growing number of private insurance plans including Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, and many more. 180 Medical’s specialists will handle verifying your insurance so we can determine how your plan will cover your child’s incontinence supplies.

Plus, we offer free incontinence product samples so you can find what works best for your child. When you’re ready to order, we’ll ship your order for free discreetly and quickly. Contact us to experience the 180 Medical difference.

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About the Author
Jessica is the Senior Marketing Specialist at 180 Medical. She's been a part of the 180 family for over 11 years. Her favorite parts of working at 180 Medical are our values of compassion and integrity and the positive impact we help make on peoples' lives.

She loves writing, creating art, cooking, gardening, and spending time with her fiancé and their 3 dogs.