Managing Water Cravings in Children with Severe Autism: Practical Solutions for Parents

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Entrepreneur of over 35 years and caregiver of adult autistic son

In the podcast, Mike Carr discusses strategies for managing excessive water consumption in children with severe or profound autism, who may have a genetic trigger causing insatiable thirst, leading to health risks like diluted seizure medications and low sodium levels. To prevent overhydration, Mike and his family have implemented various measures: installing locks on the kitchen and refrigerator doors, using smaller pitchers and marked cups to limit water intake, adding locks and valves to bathroom faucets, using a valve to prevent the toilet from refilling after flushing, and keeping the shower door closed with a valve on the showerhead to prevent its use. These precautions help manage their son’s water intake and protect his health. 

YouTube video


Mike Carr (00:08): 

Today we’re going to talk about water cravings and how as a parent you can make sure that your son or daughter doesn’t drink too much water because a lot of folks with severe or profound autism have a gene that’s triggered and they almost have this insatiable thirst. So we’ve had to do some things with our son to make sure he doesn’t drink too much water, which dilutes all the seizure meds he’s on. And in some cases we’ve heard from some parents, they actually have to take him to the hospital because it dilutes the amount of sodium in their system. So one of the things that we do is lock the kitchen. Our son’s smart enough to be able to open the door without this. So what we’ve decided to do is have this little lock that comes down. So now he can’t get into the kitchen and he can’t figure out how to open this up. 


The next thing we’ve done is on the refrigerator. We have locks on the refrigerators, so you have to push the lock to open it. Then once he’s in the refrigerator, we have a smaller than normal pitcher, so he only gets a certain amount of water versus a larger pitcher. We also have cups that have lines on them so that he only can fill it up to the line and then he has to stop filling it so he doesn’t drink too much water. Throughout the day, we’ll move into the bathroom because believe it or not, he’ll sneak into the bathroom and he’ll try to drink from the faucet. 


So what we’ve done is we have a lock on this door so he can’t get into the door. And underneath here there are these little valves that we’ve had the plumber installed for us. Lemme turn this from here to locked right there. Now it’s locked and there’s another valve down here. You do the same thing. So it’s real easy to turn off the water, and now he can’t drink any extra water. Now, believe it or not, he likes the sound of water, not just drinking water. So what we’ve had to do in here is he’ll just flush the toilet repeatedly and every time he does it, you’ll flush it, flush it, and flush it. Ends up using a lot of water. There’s a valve back here behind the toilet that if you turn it now will not refill. So it doesn’t make any difference how many times he flushes it. 


There’s no more water coming into the toilet bowl. And then the last thing we’ve done on the showers is we keep the door closed. We put this on top of the door to hide the shower head. Otherwise he’ll open it and he’ll turn on the shower. So we also have this on the shower itself, this valve. So if he turns on the shower, he doesn’t know how to work this valve. So even when he turns the water on, it sort of defeats the whole purpose of him having access to the water in here. And that’s it for today. Thank you. 

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