Well at 3:00 AM this morning Ethan woke up. He hadn’t slept any more than usual yesterday so that’s a tip that something is wrong. One of the biggest challenges with Ethan is simply trying to determine if he is sick or not.
With echolalia when you ask him questions he normally just repeats the question you asked. It has been getting a bit better recently but still frequently takes 2 or 3 prompts to get an answer and then you can only count on the answer actually meaning something about 50% of the time. Frequently you have to modify your question a couple of times to get a response, so it isn’t as simple as just asking “what’s wrong?”.
After a few different ways of approaching the question this morning I got “I feel sick” and then “stay home” meaning he doesn’t want to go to school, and then finally “my stomach hurts”.
A common issue with kids with autism is bowel problems because of the lack of nerve integration in they nervous systems. Kids who have this problem don’t have the nerve sensations necessary for their systems move feces through their intestines and then know that they need to have bowel movement when the time comes.
All of this means that he frequently is severely constipated. He has had to have visits to the emergency room to clean him out because of being unable to have a bowel movement on his own for about 7 to 10 days. The duration of the delay before taking him in is based on the quantity, consistency and color of what he is able to pass.
The end result is that on days when you can finally figure out that he doesn’t have a cold, but feels sick because of his bowels is a day spent getting copious amounts of laxitives into his system and simply waiting for them to do their magic… sigh…