The behavior that wasn’t

When your ASD kid starts prodding around his rear constantly while on the toilet, you — like us — might think it’s a new tic or stim. You’ll think, “Obsessive noodling back there might be a sign! We must fix this, and quick!”

That’s how we felt the past several weeks when C started his backyard explorations with great vigor and persistence. I mean, it was getting gross. And worrisome.

Then, the other night, my wife looked at the toilet paper and saw them. THEM! Tiny pinworms, a parasite so common that the first four pharmacies she called were sold out of the over-the-counter remedy.

No wonder he was constantly fiddling around with himself: he was scratching an insatiable itch. And what did we do? We did what you do when faced with a challenging new behavior: we offered quiet reminders and gentle redirection. No shame, no guilt, no punishment. But no real help, either.

And now we’re kicking ourselves. We were pathologizing a behavior instead of looking for a much simpler, more logical explanation.

This is the trap you can fall into: thinking everything is an Issue, something to be fixed or corrected. (Of course, it would have helped if he could have told us what he was feeling, but that’s another post).

Anyway, we have a new motto: not everything’s a behavior — sometimes it’s worms!

As for the the remedy: it works. One dose and the digging stopped.

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