I’m asking about this on behalf of a friend of a friend, whom I know only vaguely (and her kid not at all) but who’s signaled that she doesn’t mind my asking as she is fairly desperate for answers.
I was actually supposed to ask much sooner but I felt I didn’t have enough information to get good answers and the mom never followed up so it kind of fell by the wayside....now, however, I’ve heard a new angle to the story and feel it is kind of incumbent upon me to find out more about this in order to maybe help this little boy...
The boy in question is in 2nd grade, I assume 8 years old, and has had frequent toilet-training regressions, soiling himself regularly, with better phases and worse phases. The mom was already very worried when he was in K, but hoped that things might work out until school entry.
At the time, according to my friend, physical reasons had been completely ruled out, with the boy apparently saying that he “didn’t notice having to go” or “couldn’t be bothered going”, and being unfazed by having to clean up himself. I remember that upon hearing her describe the boy as a “dreamer”, I suggested asking whether sensory under-responsivity and petit mal seizures had been ruled out, but I do not know whether this was the case or not.
Now that the child is in grade school, instead of getting better things have gotten so bad that he is soiling himself three times a day, and the mom regularly has to pick him up from school because of this. Specialists have posited that the problem is due to the boy struggling with his schoolwork due to very bad fine-motor (or maybe rather graphomotor) skills; apparently he has a very clumsy pencil grip and struggles with writing. And school must have something to do with it, because during a week when he had to stay home for unrelated reasons, he never soiled himself at all. But there may be more going on: according to my friend the mom then said “well his intelligence can’t be the problem because they’ve tested that as well and apparently he’s very bright, he scored more than 130 points on the IQ test.” My friend, who is one of the few people IRL I talk to about giftedness, immediately said “what makes you so sure it’s not very much part of the problem?” but the mom dismissed it. She has also discontinued OT because she felt it didn’t help at all.
The mom is rather stressed out due to sharing in the care for an elderly relative on her husband’s side of the family, which involves doing the housework two afternoons a week and then hanging out at granny’s for the rest of the day, I assume with her kids in tow – which is already better than when the boy was still in his K program at preschool and her share was two full days, which entailed having to take the boy out of school against his will on those days. So there appears to be a pattern of some persons in the family having their needs ignored, but I feel it isn’t my call as a stranger to point this out or even to make a difference if I did.
But I think I might be able to nudge the mom towards taking the discrepancy between her child’s writing skills and his cognitive ability more seriously, and accept that his being gifted might have something to do with the encopresis. I have found anecdotal evidence about a connection, but wonder whether anyone can point me towards more persuasive resources (information only, not places, we’re in Europe). And maybe give an informed opinion about whether OT not helping might mean that there just wasn’t enough of it or rather that the therapist was useless?
Thanks in advance!