Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Poo Diggers

- from Christy

There were many factors to consider when starting this blog. I wrestled with whether I could protect and honor our boys and still fully tell our story of Autism. Reality is that Autism is not pretty a lot of the time. In an endeavor to encourage others whose lives are affected by this disorder and to educate our community, we knew the full story needed to be told.

There are reasons behind all of our boy's behaviors. Those reasons are clear at times and not so clear at others. We know that most children with Autism have another disorder that affects just about every aspect of life. It is called Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). My hope is to share more about SPD in the near future, but, simply put, “it is a neurological disorder causing difficulties with taking in, processing and responding to sensory information about the environment and from within their own body. For those with SPD, sensory information may be sensed and perceived in a way that is different from most other people.” It is most certainly the cause of the nose picking in Jeremy's previous post, and the cause of today's post: Poo Diggers.

Poop. With three in diapers, it is the topic of conversation around our house A LOT of the time. By saying this, you realize that Josiah and Jalen are not potty trained. Depending on the severity of a child's autism, they may or may not potty train on time. I read once that the average time for a child with severe autism to potty train is around 9-10 years of age. However, there are children severely on the spectrum who are never able to master this skill.

Because of their sensory processing disorder, our boys will put their hands into their diapers from time to time. Josiah is very conscience of the fact that he has had a bowel movement. This is really good because it is a sign that he is aware of his bodily functions, and it may mean that being potty trained is in his future. He will try to remove his diaper when this happens, and that makes for quite a cleanup. Jalen, on the other hand, is our very messy boy. He loves dirt, and mud, and anything that looks like dirt and mud. Yep, that means poop. Jalen actually tries to get into his diaper to engage in fecal smearing. Some children fecal smear in an endeavor to get more attention and some do it in an act of anger. With Jalen, it is much simpler than that. He just likes the way it feels and tastes. SPD affects these senses. Thus, it is not uncommon to find the poo smeared all over his face and body, and even in his mouth. I could tell many stories of cleanups that have taken hours. Let's just say that “the trying of your faith works patience,” and our faith has certainly been tried again and again in this area.

That brings me to grace. A dear friend of ours who has a daughter with a severe disability and who can empathize with our struggles, used her talents to bless our family. Lori created outfits for her daughter Amelia that ended up being the perfect fix to our problems. She made Josiah and Jalen several of these outfits that we affectionately call Poo Diggers. Most afternoons and evenings, if you were to visit our home, the boys would be sporting this colorful and oh so practical apparel. Poo Diggers have saved our sanity! God knows just how much we can handle, and He also knows when an extra measure of grace is needed. Lori has been that extra measure of grace to our family.

I hope the content of this post will be taken the way it is intended. Poop is part of the story of Autism for our family and for many other families living with this disorder. It is also one of the tools that God is using to humble us often.


  1. I am certain that God gives you an extra measure of patience and strength! I am resolved not to complain about changing Rebecca or that my older two weren't potty-trained until past 3 years old!

  2. I have been witness to a few of these events and they are enough to try your sanctification. Jalen especially should have a very healthy immune system! In spite of it all, I love these boys and am so proud they are my grandchildren (along with the other 10)!

  3. What handsome boys! I'm loving getting caught up with your precious family, poo and all! ; )

  4. I know you wrote this long ago but I am interested in the outfits (Poo Diggers) in which your good friend made. Is there a pattern that is easy to follow? I have a 2 1/2 yr old who is fecal smearing and am trying to find clothing that can help save our sanity around here and possibly keep the smearing down. You are welcome to contact me at our email address.
    scott.traci.rose@q.com and Thank you!


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