Time to talk about poo.  We’ve had a few incidents recently from Olly, I had a lot from Max but he was younger so I thought Oliver may have bypassed this phase.

When Max was younger he used to smear at bedtime.  He would play in his poo- decorating the walls and floor.  Obviously I can’t watch them 24 hours a day, and I was told that we needed to get into a bedtime routine in the hopes that he would understand and sleep.  He didn’t.  He used to sleep 2 hours a night.  I would put him in babygrows as he couldn’t undo poppers.  When that didn’t work I put him in pyjamas with a vest over the top that fastened with poppers (press studs) the I tried buttons and zips.  He still found a way to get into his poo and paint which resulted in me stripping his room and leaving him with painted walls and tiles on the floor which were moppable.  Mattress cover, etc to make clean up easier.  I would go up and down the stairs to check every ten minutes.  With his language being limited after a few tries with various words we ended up with “dirty, don’t touch” and so now at 23 he still won’t wipe his bum and if you try to force the issue he says “dirty, don’t touch”.  We are working on this.

Oliver – well he has been fascinated by his bodily functions a while but his last episode was a while ago and that was doing a wee in various receptacles and emptying it in the toilet.  The only poo incident we had was where he slammed his door and couldn’t open it so by the time I had gone up to check on him he had used the volcano out of the dinosaur set as his toilet.  Genius!

Oliver has stopped sleeping in his room again- Christmas changes threw him so he has been camping at the top of the stairs.  The toilet is 3 paces away from where he lies and plays.  One evening his dad went to the bottom of the stairs to look and make sure he wasn’t paddling in the toilet (oh yes that’s fun) he said he could smell poo.  He goes up and I grab clothes and cleaner.  Upstairs he had re-enacted the episode where Bing stands in dog poo, only he had substituted his poo for dog poo and all of Bing’s friends had jumped in it too.  He tried to wipe his bum 2 nights later, couldn’t so wiped his hands on the wall of the landing.  Last night there was a poo at the top of the stairs.  He hadn’t even attempted the toilet.  When I asked what it was, Oliver shouted “Poo!” in a gleeful tone.  I said “where does poo go?” and he pointed to the toilet.  So it’s not like he doesn’t know.  I’ve been told it’s quite common for this to happen, although no one agrees why.  We keep it low key, reinforce the toilet, and just clean it up with no recrimination. We don’t want to make it something he gets lots of attention for.  I carried his pyjamas down to the washing machine last night, carefully I thought, but not carefully enough!

I know kids find poo funny- my 3 year old thinks poo head is the best insult ever!  I don’t find it quite so funny when I’m scrubbing the carpet.  Although thinking about the Bing thing he did- well it does raise a smile.



A Party Invite!

Oliver got invited to a couple of party’s last year, early in the year before people knew he was autistic.  He got a couple of invites after people knew, and I will love those parents forever.  However this year has been very different, I’ve watched the invites going out, kids getting excited receiving them and talking about what will happen, what they’ll wear etc.  Now I know it’s fair enough, kids grow and get a circle of friends and my son isn’t in those groups, he has a couple of friends but is not popular in the same way.  Just before Christmas a little girl was handing out invites and came up to Oliver and said “mum where’s Oliver’s invitation?” The mother blushed, looked through the envelopes and said “oh we must have left it at home” the child said they remembered everyone else’s in the class which made the mother blush even more.  She said to me that she’d bring it tomorrow.  Surprise surprise no invite appeared.  Now it’s up to her who she invites but what annoyed me was the sham.  I know my son is not wanted at these things, he spins around and amuses himself and doesn’t understand the musical statues rules so just dances and dances.  I also understand not wanting someone potentially disruptive there, someone who is being left behind by the “normal” kids.  I understand that, and I understand that kids get excited and talk in front of him about their social events.  he doesn’t know yet that he’s not one of them, but I have to admit it hurts a little.

A few days before term ended a little boy was giving out invites and Christmas cards, he came running up to us and gave us envelopes which I put in my pocket for him to open when we got home.  We opened them at home and he had a Christmas card and an invite!  Not only that but Popples was invited too.  The kids have been in the same class for 2 years and you know how it is at pick up time, you get chatting to other parents and I’ve spoken to his dad regularly and his littlest used to run round with Popples last year whilst waiting for the boys to finish.  I collared his dad a couple of days later and thanked him for the invite for both of them and said they’d love to come if he was sure about the invite.  He said it’s just at a soft play area and there’ll be cakes and a few games “if he wants to join in. If he doesn’t he can just play”.  He knows Oliver is autistic, he’s heard the escape stories, he’s heard about the outbursts, he’s heard about “how hard Oliver tries, daddy.  He can’t even talk but he tries and tries and tries” and his son still wanted to invite him.  I don’t want Oliver to be anyones focus as it’s not his day, so after talking to his folks, I’m going to stay.  Not hovering.  I’ll take a book and sit by the door, in case of escape, and be on hand- just in case.  I’ll sit round the corner from the party so they won’t see me but I’ll be there – just in case.

Some kids are so thoughtful and generous and see past the barriers or don’t see the barriers.  I wonder when this changes or even if it changes for some people.  The world through a child’s eyes seems so simple – they are in my class, they must be like me, they might be my friend.  When does it change?  Do the differences get pointed out?  My 3 year old doesn’t even recognise her half siblings are brown.  When we were drawing them, the thing she pointed out was “I need a brown crayon to do Max’s eyes”  not his skin colour.  The little boy at school knows Oliver is different cos he can’t talk- but it doesn’t matter to him, or his other friends like Savannah, or Grace or Leon.  He’s still his friend.

Like I said, I’m not asking everyone to change to accommodate my son, it’s my issue to deal with- him being left behind, but I am hoping that he will keep a couple of friends through school.  Just a couple…….or even one.



He’s not naughty! by Deborah Brownson

hes not naughty

I’ve been trying to find some help on how to explain to a 3 year old the complex world of autism.  She has 2 brothers on the spectrum and asks questions which I do try to deal with “why does Max wear ear things?” because noises hurt his ears so this makes them softer so he can listen without it hurting.  The questions keep coming and the word Autistic has been mentioned which resulted in the conversation taking a weird turn “stick? like stick man?  Is he going to get stolen by a dog and get lost?  I don’t want my brother to go”.

Anyway I came across this book “He’s not naughty” when I was doing some research.  A lot of the books I came across had scathing reviews and many of them were about aspergers where my boys are further up (or down?) the spectrum.  This book also mentions aspergers but is not focussed on it exclusively.  It’s about the issues that people on the spectrum face, the senses are broken down, strangers, behaviour, bullying, feelings etc.  and the trauma it causes them.  It is also beautifully illustrated so although the text may be a bit too much for my 3 year old, the pictures are good for starting discussion.  It’s easy reading and explains things simply, so is useful for anyone starting out on an autism journey, be that a family member, friends or teachers.

It’s written by a mum who lives with autism daily, not by a clinician and it’s very matter of fact.  It doesn’t gloss over anything, it just explains things from Jake’s point of view as told by his friend.  I don’t think my review has done it justice, it’s a beautiful book and I see my sons in the illustrations.  It takes a complex disorder and turns it into manageable chunks.  It’s listed as a children’s guide to autism, but I think it’s an all age guide to autism.  It’s overwhelming, and you get used to speaking in jargon and doctor-ese, this book has put me back on the track to explaining to all ages that He’s not naughty!