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Joseph's Story

Updated: Jan 31, 2021

My name is Barbara. I have an eight-year-old son, Joseph. He was diagnosed with Autism, ADHD, and Sensory Processing Dysfunction at four years old.

Joseph was also evaluated at school and the psychologist also believed he had Autism at that time. He began pre-K still in pull-ups in the intensive needs program. Joseph would not go #2 at school. He would hold it in until he was sleeping, and the stool would naturally come out.

Joseph found it difficult to sit on a potty chair and toilet even with the toilet training seat. He wanted to stand when he could not hold it anymore to evacuate the stool. It was a painful experience for him because the stool was hardened and now impacted. He would position his body like a woman in labor. What does a mother do here?

Joseph would not put any medicine in his mouth. Not even candy Exlax. He would spit and throw up any form of medicine. He would also refuse to sit for enemas and suppositories. He would kick, scratch, and bite me at any attempts to give medicine rectally.

At school he became explosive he would pull his pants down in pain and scratch or rub his bottom. They could not get him to sit on the toilet. They did not know what to do with him other than call me to pick him up. These painful memories made using the restroom more stressful. He became anxious and felt going to the restroom was abnormal and unclean.

I finally found a stool softener that was a sweet syrup that was disguised in his drink. Although it did soften the stool it also made his stomach cramp so that became a problem as well. He expressed such pain that it troubled me. It seemed there was something else wrong.

Joseph was sedated at 6 years old for a colonoscopy, endoscopy, biopsy and blood work was done. Every test came back normal and good.

I started to give the pediatric fleet enemas to Joseph whether he wanted them or not. It was very difficult. However, I persisted and finally got him to "sense" the feeling of needing to go. I also held him on the toilet and coached him to push while assuring him its ok. He would kick and scream. He began to be dependent on the enema.


I consulted with his GI team they suggested a water hydration system that evacuated the stool. It is the same method but just using lukewarm water. A child vs an adult should have a set amount of ml's of water. It must be lukewarm. Too cold will cause cramping too hot can cause damage.

I used the same enema bottle that was thin and flexible since he was used to that one. I filled it with lukewarm water. I laid a medical mat on the edge of the bed. I have Joseph lay to his side with his legs to the left. I use Vaseline on the syringe. I then count with him as he loves numbers. We count together to 20.

Then I make it a super big deal about "going poopie!!!" We run to the toilet, he sits, and I coach him to "push poopie out". I make a bigger deal after he goes. We smack five, sing and dance yay!!

After he is done, I sign to him and say out loud "do you need "more medicine " or "all done". He will sign back what he needs. It took a while to get the responses from him. We practiced this in everyday life…"more" etc... or "all done".

Joseph has a typical little boys crude sense of humor. He noticed "poopie the emoticon" 💩. He thinks he is hilarious. I then took poopie and used him as a stress reliever for Joseph. I found a plush stuffed animal of poopie in neon green, blue, pink and purple.

Joseph fell in love with his favorite color, the green one. I now get the green Mr Poopie take him to the mat and tell Joseph "Mr Poopie is ready". He goes willingly to the mat, gets himself ready and lies down after our count to 20. He runs with Mr Poopie and sits on the toilet with regular seat and goes.

He is always very happy after he is done and laughs tossing poopie in the air and hugging him. He even takes poopie to school and they use my model there now to help with sitting on the toilet. Making something funny has taken so much stress away from using the restroom. I also joke with him "Joseph everyone poops!".

The best advice that I can offer to my autistic village and dear friends who have children with disabilities out there is never give up! Give yourself a break, lower your bar of self-evaluation and keep going!

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