A family's story

Oh, poop.

Echolalia is something that we’ve dealt with since Tate started to talk. At first we were all, “yay, words!!”. After a while, it became clear that he was stuck on certain words…and as we found out later, that is, indeed, echolalia.

When he was 2, “go!” was a favorite. Everything was, “GO!”. As he got older and into EC preschool, he favored, “Pix, mix, fix!” He loved the word families. When he was four, “ghost” became another one. In Kindergarten, he punctuated everything with, “Ewww! Diapers!” It seems only natural, I guess, that his current echolalic fixation is none other than “Poop!” (It really is the word poop…so I guess I can count myself lucky that he doesn’t favor crap or shit.)

Every.other.word out of his mouth tends to be “poop!”. It’s driving us all a bit mad, really.


“Tate, do you want lemonade or water?” 

“I want melonade, Mommy Poop.” 

“Try again.”

“I want lemonmelonade, Mommy….Poop!”

Or another one:

“Tate, what is 5-3?”

“2 Poop!”

Or, his favorite is to say all of his classmates’ names….and according to Tate, they all have the same surname–“Poop”! There is “Allie Poop” and “Joanie Poop” and “Nora Poop” and “Ryan Poop” and “Alex Poop”. Alex is a new kid. He started last week. His teachers now have hyphenated names…as do the specialists. His ABA therapists do, too. No one is exempt from this latest echolalia.

I am officially “Mommy Poop” and Hubz is “Daddy Poop”. Jake is “Jake the Poop” and Cole, well, Cole has a special distinction….he’s “Cole Horse Poop”. And every single time Tate says it, Cole retorts, “I am NOT Cole Horse Poop. I am Cole (insert middle and last name here)!!!” Both Jake and Cole are done with it. Jake is even trying to bribe Tate to not say “poop” with some of his prized, precious Bey Blades. No dice. 

As with any echolalia, we are trying to think of what started this obsession. We are trying to address it. His ABA team says to ignore it. We tried, but now he’s getting bold. He is establishing eye contact (I know!!) and shouting it. He will even say, “Mommy Poop. Hey, I said, “poop”.” Just to get a rise out of us. At school he is doing the same thing.

At school when he says poop, it is rewarding. He has 5 classmates who giggle or tell the teacher. I pretty much know the tone of voice of each kid in his class now, as he mimics them perfectly as they tell the teacher. Tate loves those scripts. 

His teacher has an “off-topic” chair that Tate sits in when the poop talk gets to a Code Red level. he does stop, but the past few school days, he has been in there more often than not. We even implemented an “off-topic” chair at home this weekend. Tate spent 10 minutes there this morning. He rattled off a string of poop talk as he got it out of his system. 

I never knew how much the word “poop” could be said in a 10 minute interval. Holy, moly. I think he even gets anxiety about the reactions that he’s going to get from people by saying “poop”. It is so consuming right now. 

And I am at a loss. I want my conversational boy back. He was doing great until about the middle of last week. It possibly could be tied to the hitting incident at school. Or the fact that he has a new bus route. Or that they added a new student to his classroom. Or that the weather is changing. Or that there have been a few discussions about summer. Or that he started playing his special needs soccer again. 

I guess what gets me, ultimately, is that with every new “behavior” there is always the sleuthing involved to try to figure out exactly why it is happening. That is exhausting…and puts me in that hard place. 


Comments on: "Oh, poop." (5)

  1. B’s teacher had to implement using the bathroom to use his “potty words”, including the favorite word “poopy”. As in, “potty words belong in the bathroom.” At home, we had to start using that – which, thankfully has worked (most of the time) – he stops as soon as he hears us utter those dreaded words.

    • Oh, that’s a pretty good idea…of course, we run the risk that Tate will then just sit in the bathroom and flush the toilet or play in the sink. Hmm. But that does have merit. Thanks for sharing what worked with B!

  2. Oh goodness! That just sounds like one that requires some intensive intervention with ABA megahours to me – and even then when he’s getting the “positive” reinforcement from classmates – that’s tough (!) It’s interesting though to hear how it seems to be kind of a one word thing with Tate while with Toots it’s usually a phrase “Where are we going?” a 100 times a day or he’ll try to manipulate me into saying some phrase “Mommy say…..” and I have to tell him I’m not playing the “say game” but he still works it to death!!

    Figuring out that antecedent is tough. Lots of choices always, aren’t there? And then when you look back after figuring it out, if you’re like me, you wonder why you didn’t see it all along… 😉

    All I can say for sure is – you’re not alone! xoxo

  3. We deal with A LOT of echolalia as well. “Yay words” is right but also it can def be maddening. Jay is currently stuck on “it’s not working.” So far, we’ve been able to just wait it out whenever Jay has gotten stuck on a particular word or phrase and then it goes away after a while but I can understand not wanting to get stuck on poop. Here’s hoping it passes soon. 🙂 (Pun intended)

  4. You had me in stitches! It’s nice to laugh when you feel like crying. My hubz and I can also relate to the echolalia issue. With our daughter it tends to be repeated phrases such as “wear a dress to church!” (one of her favs). Thanks again for sharing such difficult topics with a little touch of humor. Hang in there.

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