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Posted by Moderator on September 18, 2000 at 22:06:42:

In Reply to: fecal smearing posted by Kimberly Martin on September 18, 2000 at 21:11:55:

From my experience I would say fecal smearing is common among mid to low functioning autistics. I believe it is just their curiosity. But, I've never heard anyone suggest to me that such behaviors may be anxiety related. What I have heard, however, is that you can sometimes replace those kinds of undesirable behaviors with more structured bathroom routines. Once they learn the routine, the child's need for sameness will tend to work in your favor and crowd out the unhealthy explorations.

Sometimes the behavior can fade away on its own when the child becomes bored by it, but I would not build a plan around that expectation.

I would not punish the child, because in my experience severely autistic children cannot properly process negative experiences or associate them properly with behaviors. Using "aversives" can have the opposite effect and amplify the problem instead of extinguishing it.

You may need an expert in this area to design a plan to help you cope with it. I understand there are a few books on teaching good hygiene to retarded children and adults. Can anyone recommend a book or plan?

: Hi, i have a 6 year old autistic boy who sudden;y started fecal smearing. We are trying to determine the cause of this, his therapist thinks it may be anxiety related. If anyone could help me with this and give me a few pointers i would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much. I am in Sydney Nova Scotia. Kimberly Martin

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