“It is scary to be alone inside myself. I am saving up all I know so that I will be able to tell someone who will understand. I know my constipation is due to storing up all this information. I have so much of myself inside that needs to come out. My parents as well as my doctor think of my constipation literally. He is constipated so we have to find a cause. I know better than that. They are wrong and I am right, but because I am inside I do not have the words to tell them what is really going on. Ironically, if I had the words, I would no longer be psychologically and literally constipated. When will this horror of a life be over? When will I be outside? I need you to understand my dilemma. I continue to be desperate.”
What is this autistic boy telling us? He is explaining his gastrointestinal problem as a psychological problem. He knows he is right, but unfortunately does not have the words to communicate that in such a way that people will understand him. He considers this a serious, grave and dire predicament.
Let’s understand this autistic child from the perspective of an ‘Incomplete Attachment.’ As I have mentioned previously, children with autism do not have access to the use of the word ‘I’ to explain their predicaments and communicate their feelings. This is especially true when they are in relationship to another person. In the presence of others they may lose their ability to communicate precisely what their needs are. Instead it is common for the individual with autism to act out through their nonverbal communication what is going on inside.
In the case of gastrointestinal problems I believe this is exactly what is occurring. The children are telling us for example what is going on inside of them through their bodily functioning (constipation, diarrhea, etc.). In the case of constipation the child is telling us that there is a lot of him psychologically inside. It is a very creative way to explain his predicament, but only if it can be understood. Once understood as an expression of communication, it can be treated accordingly.