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Jan 22, 2013

Poop Smearing and Coprophagia

As an autism mom, I'm grateful for resources out there to help deal with the not-so-pretty part of autism:  Poop Smearing.  This is something I might have been embarrassed to mention, let alone blog about, but the fact is it is a reality, and I am not the only one out there that gets the fun of dealing with this.
I remember the first time I discovered a child of mine in the bedroom covered in poop, the walls covered in poop, the dresser covered in poop.  Let's just say that was definitely not the last time that happened either.  I was HORRIFIED, and I thought my child was the only child in the world to do this.  My day would be ruined, and I would cry as I spent an eternity getting the poop out of the room and the smell out of my house.  Fast forward a few years to when I discovered another child of mine who touched their bottom when they were pooping.  I would walk in and see poop next to their mouth.  I was, again, utterly grossed out, horrified, etc.  Once again, I thought that my child was the only child in the world to engage in this repulsive behavior.  (On a side note, my sister made a good point not to say, "Don't touch your poop/butt" to an echolalic child because if they start repeating that one, they are definitely going to get made fun of.  Instead, just use the prompt, "Hands up!")
This morning, I have been scouring the internet trying to find resources out there addressing this topic.  In my search, I learned that these behaviors are common in lower-functioning autism.  I also read on the Journal of Neuropsychiatry website (http://neuro.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleid=104346) that Temple Grandin engaged in fecal smearing when she was a child, and Mozart ingested his own poop.  So some pretty awesome people did the same thing that my kids have done...somehow that makes me feel just a little better.  Is that because misery loves company?  ;)
I am grateful for the social story I found called, Don't Smear the Poop.  This social story is for sale for $12.50 which is a good price compared to a lot of other autism resources out there.
However, I needed a temporary solution for now, as this is a problem that I don't have time to wait on shipping to address.  I also drew my own little images, opened a word document and inserted images from google images search and from their clip art to make my own social story/visual strips for the bathrooms in our house.  If anyone wants to use these for their own personal use,  I am totally fine with that.  All you would do is left click on the image, save it, then print it.
First, I have a nice big printable to remind the child, "Hands Up!"

Next is the printable of what they really should be doing if they are in the bathroom.


Last is the strip showing what they shouldn't be doing.  


***(1/16/2017) -One of the readers of this blog gave me an awesome resource that I now would recommend even more.   In fact, it's almost exactly four years later, and I'm printing off the social story she referred me to, to use for the same child.  Yes, in my experience, some bad habits are hard to break or return when the child is experiencing change or other stressors.  Darn it.  Anyway, the link to the "Don't Play With Your Pooh" social story can be found here:  
http://able2learn.com/products/dont-play-with-poop-social-story-basic-living-skills-8-pages.html

Also, I made a youtube video reading the social story because I know my kids will destroy the book.  It can be found here (with a few additions to fit our situation).

22 comments:

  1. Good for you for sharing this...this is something I deal with, and it boggles my mind that my kid can be reading at least 2 grades above his level, a whiz at math, really good at recognizing different emotions, but he cannot get the whole "poop" thing! I'm very glad to know I'm not the only mom who has cried all day while trying to clean the house enough that the whole place doesn't smell like poop...you've given me hope!

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  2. Hi there,

    Can I suggest you look at some of the larger onesies from http://www.wonsie.com.au. This is a family business that was started due to a friend's autistic child always smearing his poo. You will find feedback from other customers on their as well.

    Regards,

    Wonsie

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    Replies
    1. how do you stop poo being smear on walls he adult

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    2. I wish i knew. All my kids still smear their poo on occasion. The other comments to this post have a bunch of good suggestion. Take a look.

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  3. Hi,Thank you for being so honest!!! I have a very beautiful, very intelligent 7 year old daughter that has smeared her poo since she was 6 months old. At school, she took her clothes of, covered herself in it, put her clothes back on and went and sat back down in the class, she was just diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder 2 months ago. Nobody stands up and says their child does this. Xxxxx

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    1. This is the reason that i wrote about this, because i know it's out there, but no one wants to admit it. Thanks for your honesty and telling me your experience. It is so helpful for other mommies.

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    2. Thank you, thank you. I really thought I was the only dealing with this. I didn't think poking bottom while pooing was the in same category as smearing. Talk about naive I will definitely give your strips a go!

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    3. If you are all looking for help still, there are bodysuits out there such as on www.preventawear.com. they help! More than a onesie ...fits child up to adult

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  4. very honest. I'm so glad i found your blog! check out my blog too!


    The Adventures of Room 83

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    1. Yay! I'm excited to check our your blog. :)

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  5. Just was pointed to your blog by a mom who did some quick research about poop smearing. Love your pictures. Going to look into the book. My biggest issue is that my son (11) does it in the basement.

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  6. My son does it two i was told today ny his neurologist that he might be ocd, he was diagnosed at age of 2 With autism he is high function or asperger i read a lot of children like him do it and mi not so sure about giving him medication ... I cant stop crying

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  7. Hello Parents
    I am a BCBA that accidentally came across this page. I have seen lost of children with autism who engage in this behavior. I just want you to remember that when a child does something is because there is something about it that they like, so in addition to letting them know that this is something that they should not do we have to find ways of replacing the behavior. For example, some kids so it because they like the sensation they get, so we might have them play with Play Doh, shaving cream PROACTIVELY during the day…this will sometimes help since now they can find similar textures. The same is often done with smells. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions at bcba.fernanda@hotmail.com

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  8. Thank you for this post. My oldest has high functioning autism and sensory processing disorder. I found poop painted above his bed today. He is 7yrs old and still has major toilet issues and the worst is at night, which includes pooping in his bed. He's always contained it to his pull-up so this was a major shocker. I'm not sure what was in his mind, considering he doesn't even like the feel of playdough. I'm sad to say that I freaked out a bit. It helps to see that I'm not the only one going through this one.

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    1. You are human. Of course you freaked out! Don't be too hard on yourself. This is one of the negative parts of autism and the part I freak out/cry about whenever it happens. That's not what you are supposed to do... But, I think we do awesome anyway, right?

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  9. My son, a single dad of 3 autistic boys, raising them totally on his own had this daily horror to deal with. After removing all drywall in the child's bedroom and replacing it with plywood covered with bathroom-type washable paneling, he began using a Fleets liquid suppository each night before bedtime which has nearly completely solved the fecal smearing problem, as well as the child's leaky gut problem. The now 10-yr-old severely autistic, mostly nonverbal child will ask for "pository" when he is getting sleepy since it is now part of his nightly routine.

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  10. My 7 year old daughter has just started doing this..so far just at school.they say that she doesn't have any issues but surely this behaviour us not normal of a 7 year old, they seem really reluctant to refer her to anyone for help...my gp isn't interested unless the school refer her so I'm at a loss as what to do I'm in the UK.

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  11. That child would be getting a spanking.

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  12. Hi I wanted to refer you to this site called www.able2learn.com it has free autism resources and social stories including don't touch the pooh, they upload new materials everyday

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  13. Hi, thank you
    I have a 20 yo low/f autistic daughter. Her behavior with the poop started 3 years ago on a long break. Fast forward still happening .
    What if I place strong scented oils, sachet's, shaving cream all on a tray for her when she goes in the bathroom? My daughter has severe OCD and her favorite thing to do is go from store to store smelling stuff for hours. Sensory is a huge issue as well. She does the poop smearing when I'm busy. I never head it off in time. My reaction is uncontrollable, but I'm working on my reaction the best I can. I have an extreme sense of smell so I almost throw up every time. My daughters reaction is to timidly smile while covered literally head to toe in it. My water bills are outrageous due to the laundry, baths and scrubbing down of the house. It's become a daily ritual. Even if I stand by. She'll hold off pooping until she out waits me. I feel like I'm gonna have a nervous break down because of how long it's gone on. I wish everyone the best of patience, because you'll need lots of it as you know.
    Thank you to everyone on this site.

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    1. Yep, all three of my kids now smear their poop. It's the part I hate the most about autism. Are you on facebook. There is a group I belong to that is so helpful and supportive, and they understand the good, the bad and the ugly of severe autism. It is https://www.facebook.com/groups/364443360257516/
      Here's to hoping for a poop-smearing free day for all of us.

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