File this under “Where Are They Now.”
Or, maybe, ‘Told You So.”
Post readers may recall the story of Zoe Rosso, a preschooler who was suspended from her Arlington school in December of 2010 after she had too many potty accidents.
Her story, written first by Brigid Schulte the following January, triggered an outpouring of response.
Some parents were outraged that a school (in this case, Arlington Public Schools’ Montessori preschool at Claremont Elementary) “removed” Zoe, who was 3 at the time, because she had frequent accidents. Others defended the school and saw Zoe’s mother as a symbol of all those parents who disregard the common preschool rule that children be potty-trained.
It turns out the story is much more complicated.
Zoe became the subject of a book about what the authors say is a common but often undiagnosed medical problem that leads to potty accidents. “It’s No Accident: Breakthrough Solutions To Your Child’s Wetting, Constipation, UTIs and Other Potty Problems,” by Steve Hodges, a pediatric urologist, and Suzanne Schlosberg, a health writer, (Lyons Press, February 2012), picks up Zoe’s case where the publicity left off.
About six months after Schulte’s story was published, Schlosberg heard about Zoe and contacted her mother, Betsy Russo. Schlosberg had been collaborating with Hodges and connected the family with the doctor. Hodges then x-rayed Zoe.
He concluded that the little girl was woefully constipated.
“The gist of our book is that the vast majority of potty accidents and bedwetting cases are caused by undiagnosed constipation,” Schlosberg wrote to me.
She said that constipation is “a problem that is rampant in our culture due to misguided school policies (like those at Zoe’s school) and bathroom conditions, our kids’ junked-out diets and potty training done too early and without adequate follow-up.”
It was a discovery that Betsy told me, “changed our lives.”
Zoe received treatment and worked with specialists for the next year.
She’s now 5, poised to finish preschool (at a different Arlington preschool) next month and “much better,” her mother said when I contacted her.
“She does have occasional accidents, but they are rare. And we’ve discovered that her little body is very sensitive to changes, so we sometimes have a relapse…
“She’s doing well. She’s worked very hard to follow the instructions we give her, do exercises, take her medicine, and better understand her body. We’ve worked as hard as we can to help her. It’s a lot for a little girl to deal with, but she’s handled it with determination and grace.”