Calvin loves poop, and he pooped this morning in his room at 5:23 a.m. It’s definitely not uncommon in the world of autism, and theories abound on why this behavior exists. Every person with autism has unique obsessions and in this post, I’ll be specifically describing Calvin’s specific issue. More specifically, I want to break apart the behavior and layout how I’m attempting to deal with this.
Here are the facts.
- Calvin enjoys the smell and texture of poop.
- Calvin often waits until after he goes to bed to poop in his room (we have a porcelain title floor for easy cleanup/sanitation).
- When he does poop after he goes to bed, he will touch it and rub it on his bed (we have a waterproof mattress cover we wash immediately when he does this).
- If we catch him and he’s interrupted, he gets very upset.
- If he goes on his bathroom toilet, he doesn’t touch it and flushes it properly.
- He does not exhibit this behavior at school or anywhere else outside of his bedroom.
- He will not do this when someone else is nearby or visible to him.
- There’s not a specific time when he goes. It could be 10 p.m. or 5 a.m.
We’ve tried a few things.
- We’ve placed two motion cameras in his room to capture all corners of his room. This will allow us to know specifically when he goes to the specific area where he poops. DONE AND WORKING
- We bought Liquid Ass to put a few drops on his pillowcase to see if that would suffice as a replacement smell. DONE, BUT DOES NOT WORK
- When the motion cameras detect that he’s in the poop area after 9:15 p.m., it tells him to go back to bed. DONE, BUT HE IGNORES IT
We’re trying a new approach.
At this point, nothing is off the table in terms of experimentation. This seems to be an “uncontrollable” obsession with him that he is unable to personally manage. But based on the facts of this behavior, we want to focus on making him feel like he can’t be alone in his bedroom when he tries to poop.
Solution #1: Because he does not like people around, I’m going to be replacing the audio prompts with a video prompt. My wife and I will record several different variations of video messages to play. The goal is to make him think that while we’re not physically in the room, we are watching him. After the video prompt plays, rather than going to a black screen, we’ll play us watching him so that he thinks he’
Solution #2: I’m adding a motion sensor to the bathroom. When motion is detected in his poop area at night:
- Unlock his door
- Tell him to go to the bathroom
- Wait for motion in the bathroom
- When motion is detected, start a 5 minute timer
- After 5 minutes, tell him to go back to bed
- If no motion is detected in the bedroom in 5-10 minutes, tell him again
- If no motion is detected after 15 minutes, wake me up to deal with personally
This is a painfully difficult problem to solve, but I’m confident that we’re zeroing in on a solution. It’s truly an obsession with him, and part of me believes that he’s not happy that he does this. This will be a huge win when we can put this issue behind us.