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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Why? The most unpleasant side of autism

If you have a child with autism, you might have guessed what I'm talking about. Yes, indeed, the lovely topic of diaper content spreading around. I'm trying to be delicate here. Basically, fecal decoration.

Janey has gotten better about this. There was a time when we were near despair over it. It was happening most every week, and happening badly. She was creative---stuffing it down air vents, rubbing it in hard to the wood floor, hiding it where you could smell it but not find it---all sorts of fun. I don't know if it was growing up or our reactions or what, but it's not as bad. However, today was a relapse. Janey was playing iPad nicely. We could both see her and hear the music. And so, that momentary second of guard being let down. She took advantage of it to decorate the whole screen of the iPad. Badly.

Thankfully, I invested in a industrial strength cover for the screen and the whole device, and I was able to clean it off separately and no real harm was done, except to our patience. We had a long talk with Janey. A new strategy---figuring that learning for her takes a great deal of repetition, we initially spoke harshly and put her in time out, but once things were clean, we worked hard---had her repeat our phrases about "never touching stinkies" and "never putting stinkies on the iPad or anything else", had her say sorry, got her to answer whether doing that to the iPad was good or bad and if it made us happy or angry, did a little drama recreation where one of us pretended to do the deed, etc. Janey seemed to get it. We put the iPad away, and hoped we had gotten through.

No such luck. She found it, and redid exactly the same thing, not an hour later. This time we were probably less progressive with the whole reaction, and just resorted to sharp "NO! NEVER AGAIN" and time out. And some tears, on our part.

The question is, WHY? Why do autistic kids have the urge to do that? It seems like something that would just be against human nature, that you would have internal regulation to tell you not to do, even if you are not able to think it out reasonably. We try to keep the house full of sensory toys. We change her quickly. But still, when she has a chance, she makes the horrible mess now and then. And I know we're not alone. I know it's a problem for many parents of autistic kids. Does anyone know why? How can it be stopped? Can any of the money for research be put into THAT research? It would certainly improve some lives.


Gretchen Bennett said...

I didn't know that children with autism did this. I had a foster son that tried to do that once, but he constantly tried to do it ofr attention.

Suzanne said...

From what I've read and heard, it's very common with autistic kids, I should probably say with lower functioning autistic kids.