It is not uncommon for people with autism to engage in fecal smearing. The reasons for them to do it are unclear. This was one of my biggest fears with my 7 year old girl. She never did it and has always had a germ phobia anyway. It has become reality with my 3 year old boy.
The first time our boy came close to smearing we just thought he was exploring. He would stick his hand in his diaper and then look at us like “What is this stuff?” We were constantly trying to remind him that “We don’t stick our hands down our pants.” I think we would remind him of this at least 50 times a day. Even if his hands even came close to his behind we would remind him again, and again, and again. Well it didn’t stop him.
One of the times that I remember the most is a day that my Mom was coming to visit. My boy had gone into my husband and I’s room. He was in there for maybe 5 minutes tops. It is not uncommon for him to go in our room and push his cars along the top of one of our dressers that has a big mirror behind it. He likes watching himself play. I was playing with my girl and could smell that he had pooped in his diaper. I went to get him to change his diaper and noticed the poop all over his hands. My Mom showed up while I was trying to clean my boy up. Not only was it on his hands…It was on his back, his shirt, the front of his pants and all over him! I knew if it was all over him that the chances were pretty good that it was all over OUR ROOM!
Mom walked in the door just at the right time. She came in the door and I yelled “Mom! I might need your assistance!” Thankfully she jumped right in and started checking out our room. Sure enough there was poop on our rug, curtains, and a few more things. She cleaned up our room while I continued cleaning my boy. I put him in the tub cleaned him up and then cleaned the tub. I was hoping this was a one time thing…Well…It was not.
He did this just about every day for a week. Sometimes more than once a day. I was getting really frustrated and just didn’t know what to do. I tried punishing him, explaining to him that we just don’t do that. Tried getting him to go on the potty. He just screamed and cried. I started searching online for options or reasons he was doing this. Everything was so unclear. Well…the one piece footed pajamas became a close friend of mine. He pretty much lives in the footed pj’s when we are home. When we go somewhere or he goes to daycare I dress him. I hope and pray all the time we are out that he does not do this anywhere else. I keep a very close eye on him if we are visiting somewhere.
The good news is that he is not afraid of sitting on the potty now. He will tolerate sitting there for about five minutes. He has yet to do anything on it yet, but we are taking it one step at a time. We got him some big boy underwear and he is not going for that just yet. We are working on it, but don’t want to scare him away from it. I am hoping that when he is potty trained that the poopie situation will be a thing of the past. I can’t be sure of it though.
I have also started trying to put him in clothing (Other than footed pajamas) more often again just to see how he does. I am also going to get a couple pairs of overalls. (Just as a backup.) As of today he will try to stick his hands down his pants, but has not done the smearing in a couple weeks. (Knock on wood.) As long as I am watching him like an eagle he will not put his hands in his diaper. All I can say to end this post is …AUTISM STINKS! LITERALLY!