Tip{py} Tuesday: Tips to Help Teach Your ASD How to Wash Themselves


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Sniff. My children are growing up. All those cute little quirks they used to have aren’t so cute anymore. I’ll admit some are annoying, aggravating and time consuming. At the end of the day all I want to do is have some clean and happy kids. However, it took awhile for those two little unassuming words to be used in the same sentence. I’m talking years people! How did we get there? By force.

It all started two years ago when we had to move to a new house on post. As luck would have it we got a HAH (handicap accessible house). It was a one story with lowered light switched, toilets and a zero entry shower. Up until this point our children had only taken baths. Yes, we could have continue to give them baths in the master bathroom, but to me that wasn’t an option; it was an opportunity. At some point in their lives they would eventually have to take showers. They would also have to take them unassisted. Issue was they hated showers; loathed them. They would all scream in unison when we would try. Baths were just easier on the ears.

But I was determined. I wanted those few precious minutes of my life back eventually. So we threw them in cold turkey.

Tip:: At first, pick one night a week to do a shower; the rest baths. Gradually add more nights as shower nights and lower the number of bath nights.

We basically lied. Yup. We are great parents. We told them they had no option. We did make it fun though. Here is how we did it:

We treated it like a play time at first. We had the kids shower in their swimsuits!

They thought it was a so cool we let them shower in them. It honestly took a little persuasion getting Bug into the shower. Why? Because you aren’t suppose to wear clothes in the shower. Duh! Sometimes this kid….

Next we used bath toys. We went to the store and had them each pick out a few different ones. We then got some shave cream and made colored shaving cream.

We also used music. Our children love music and to dance. So we had a little dance party in our swimming suits.

I realize some peoples showers may not be as oversized as ours. At that point in time we were lucky to be able to shower all three at once. Now, due to age, we shower Bug alone. However, you can easily use all these tips for showering one at a time.

So the actual washing part- this is an example of how my kids washed themselves: 0.1 milliseconds of actual scrubbing time.

Of course that will not work when they are 13 and are a walking deodorant stick. So to keep my children from public embarrassment, I need to teach them how to actually clean themselves.

Basically, it is the same set up at washing their hands. I said they lick music, so…. They now sing the washing your hands song to clean their bodies. Of course we adapted it a little.

“Wash, wash, wash you arms
Get them nice and clean.
First the bottoms, then the tops,
And everywhere in between.”

Yea, we are cheesy. But it works. So we sing that about three times. More when dirtier. Then interchange the words for each appendage.

Lastly, you want to look at your shower space and see how it is set up. If you are sharing a shower with you entire family, you will want to move dangerous items out of their reach. I suggest buying a few of the bathroom caddys that suction cup to the wall. Then you can place your razors and other dangerous objects high out of their reach. I also suggest to but additional ones for each child. Place them lower within their reach. Add in such items as their toothbrush, toothpaste, wash cloth and other items.

We are not yet to independent shower taking, but at least we have set up our kids to succeed.

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