At what age can a child start to self-cath on their own?
Knowing when your child is ready to start self-catheterizing on their own, is not necessarily defined by a certain age. Being that every child is unique in their own way, there are several factors that could impact a child’s ability and “readiness” to self catheterize.
A child’s level of development is very important as not all children develop at the same rate. Developmental milestones are achieved by different children at different ages. Hand dexterity, pincher grasp, range of motion, body size, wheel chair use, and level of sensation play a large role as well. Certain motor skills can help to test if your child is ready, like being able to hold a pencil between the pointer finger and thumb to manipulate the pencil up and down; threading a shoelace; or closing their eyes and trying to place a peg through a hole, just using their sense of touch.
Other factors for determining if your child is ready to self-cath can include their emotional maturity, reliability and responsibility. Are they pro-actively expressing more independence and wanting to learn how to self-cath on their own?
There is no right or wrong age to let a child take on the responsibility of self-cathing on their own. What is most important is their readiness and the support you provide throughout the transition process. Be patient and encouraging and ensure they stick to a routine you’ve practiced together.