“Gut Issues” and Potty Training
I’ve read the statistics quite a bit on GI problems with regards to Autism. Autistic kids are reportedly 3.5x more likely to have GI problems than typically developing children. What they don’t tell you with that statistic is that it’s pretty damn common among typically developing kids. Until a recent appointment, it hadn’t really hit me that there may be other things that contribute to this other than biological reasons.
Okay. So I know potty training can be an issue because of sensory sensitivities.. but it never occurred to me that this could become a GI issue. I know that potty training can generally be difficult because of the emphasis of trying to get it done now now now. But it never occurred to me that this could also become a GI issue.
And let’s face it, a lot of things can happen and they can be GI problems. Olivia is a baby and has been having GI problems pop up because we introduced solids into her diet.. This will come as no surprise to any parent.. Most babies have this happen.
But what else can be contributing when an autistic kid gets to be 6, 7, 10 years old and starts having “real” GI issues. These non-organize, non-biological GI issues. And what do professionals, teachers and doctors, ie the people you trust, forget because your child has autism? Well, apparently, for doctors, they forget their medical training. And professionals and teachers? They think that because there’s a behavior, that there’s only behavior.
Which brings me to what I’m trying to talk about, while respecting my family. Just because something is a behavior, it doesn’t mean it’s because of autism.. and once something as important as a child’s health has been a behavior long enough, you need to stop acting like it’s behavior because likely, at that point, it’s no longer just behavior, it’s physical.
I’m beginning to understand that there’s a lot more than food and diet that goes into GI health.. It’s the feeling of sitting on a toilet, of flushing it, of body cues, of your body in space. It’s also the feelings of shame, guilt and self-doubt when you can’t get it right. It’s then the anxiety and tightness and so on.. It’s also behavior, ie, responding to fear.
And damn it! The response to fear is not always logical as an adult, so why should it be with kids? And why don’t we figure out with kids before they start potty training what’s going to cause them fear and eliminate it? Why do we have to let them become afraid before we analyze what’s going wrong? Then, we shouldn’t expect them to just snap out of it because we’ve eliminated variables.. Then maybe, just maybe, so many autistic kids wouldn’t have GI disorders! Because it can’t all be explained by diet. And in most typical kids, that’s not the first explanation they come up with.. why is it for our kids?
Parents, please check everything even if you assume behavior when it comes to toileting. The damage of not doing so can take years to reverse. Press to go to a GI even if everyone else says there’s nothing they can do..
This message brought to you by a parent who waited far too long.