"Do you want to eat?" No, I don't.
"Need a squeeze?" No, I don't.
"Potty?" No, no, no! Wonder Boy screamed. He shook his head and tears flew.
Super Daddy's voice was soft. "C'mon, Buddy," he said.
Wonder Boy rushed to the bathroom on bent knees. Alone inside, he sat. He pushed.
Refuse to participate. Rant. But, if you're human? If you eat? Eventually, poop happens.
Gastrointestinal issues are common in autism. Known causes include allergies to gluten or dairy, intestinal bacteria and neurological difficulties, in which the brain and body don't work together to recognize the physical urge to eliminate. Individuals also sometimes refuse all but a few foods causing nutritional shortages, learning concerns, constipation.
Eating programs claim to remedy both autism and its tummy troubles: gluten free, casein free, the special carbohydrate diet. To work, food-based solutions require strict adherence. It's critical that all involved participate, communicate, cooperate.
But in autism, pooping – like learning - isn't just about what goes in.
Many people with autism have sensory sensitive bodies woven with tender, over-alert nerves. Their ears feel every cough, creak and rustle. Eyes burn in light, tongues taste smells, noses absorb texture. Skin alternately aches to be squeezed/screams to be left alone.
For a sensory sensitive individual, effective learning requires customized input, balanced to fit the body's unique protocols. Unexpected, uninvited touch or sudden bursts of sensory stimuli upset the status quo and disrupt the person's ability to function.
Pooping is a sensory activity involving pressing physical sensations, stretched body parts, unique sights, sounds and odors. There's residual removal (wiping), toilet roars (flushing), wet, squishy hand washing.
Postponing bowel movements and the tasks that follow enhances the inevitability of the experience while creating a potentially unfortunate cycle of unhappiness and distress; release and relief.
Wonder Boy got a late start. Potty training efforts didn't begin until he was 5 years old. With help, he quickly learned to urinate in the toilet.
Gaining his cooperation concerning bowel movements? It's complicated.
When he hasn't eaten well or yielded to necessary elimination, Wonder Boy loses eye contact and words, melts into tantrums, retreats from learning.
When he's eaten well and succumbed regularly to his body's need to poop, Wonder Boy's mood is balanced. He sleeps. He uses his words, copes with transition, learns.
This day, after utilizing the facilities, Wonder Boy independently cleaned himself, flushed, washed his hands. He opened the door. "I want banana please?"
Super Daddy extended his hand, palm out. Wonder Boy slapped it. High five!
|Then comes eating|
New reader? Start here: Poisoned By Lead