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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Tip{py} Tuesday- Visual Cues


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We all need reminders. However, I have my limit at repeating myself 4 different times per person in this family. It gets old fast and I get annoyed even faster, especially with the 4 I have. I have also come to the conclusion that was a maid in a former life. I picture myself as one of the ones in Downton Abbey. Milling around a grand mansion striking soot off Persian rugs and helping the Lady pick just the right piece of flare for tonight’s dinner with the Earl. And then reality sets in and I am scrubbing pee off the toilets, using my nails as a abrasive edge to peel who-knows-what off the dinning room table, and the only piece of flare I get to wear is the splash of blueberry smoothie on my shirt…that I wore yesterday. I have hit that threshold of “no one appreciates me” yesterday when I said goodbye to a dozen small deadly little bits and pieces I sucked up with the vacuum. So today, I am doing something about it.

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Hubs and I have been battling in the past weeks on the next step with parenting. Our children are getting older, more responsible and understanding of the world around them and what we expect of them. It’s not cute anymore when they leave legos in the floor to be stepped on or when the sticker book threw up all over Diva’s room one afternoon. Actions will now equal consequences. We also decided it was about time the children start pulling their weight around here. Why else do you have kids? JK. However, the main battle we are having is should it be a paid system of chores or a list of household responsibilities?

I never got paid as a child for chores. I did what I was told with childhood resentment. However, it lead to adulthood gratification. I know how to clean a toilet, how to do the laundry and how to load a dishwasher with out looking for someone to hand me a quarter to do it. I was raised that it would your duty and responsibility to your home and your family to do your work.

This this is how it is gonna work. Everyone needs reminders. And from this point further I am going to stop verbally reminding everyone to do what they are suppose too (with the exception of SB). Yes, the rest of them has ASD and yes the rest of them have ADHD and see something shiney and there they go forgetting what they were suppose to be doing. But, I think it will benefit everyone in the long run and everyone will lead a much longer life. Even I have my own self reminders of work to do and things to remember. Don’t think this is just for little children. I am contemplating making one of these nifty do dads for Hubs.

I found the idea on Pinterest (who knew!). I adapted it to what materials I had on hand because I am thrifty like that. I used a diaper box we got from Costco and cut off all the folds with a sharp knife. Next, I took the chalk board door hanger off his door and used it as a template. However, if you do not have template handy you could probably do a “door hanger template” search on Google. After I traced out three, I used my sharp knife again to cut out the shapes. After that, I found some scrap scrapbook paper I had been saving and traced the template on the paper again. Again, I cut out the three paper templates. I grabbed my rubber cement and smeared some on both the backs of the cardboard and the paper templates and smashed them together. Lastly, I took my stash of Washib tape and clothes pins and got to work. I went on Pinterest again for ideas of responsibility, but mainly I just thought of what I had them doing daily already. We don’t have much time in the mornings so I left off any morning routines that needed to be followed. In the end it took about one hour to complete three.

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They are so cute hanging on their doors…until Diva when to close hers and broke the clothes pins off in the door jam. So new solution? I grabbed a couple small 3M command hooks and slapped those babies on the front lower middle of the door and hung their reminder charts there.

 

 

Tricare/Therapy Thursdays: My Child is Diagnosed with ASD. Now What?


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When Bug got diagnosed with PDD-NOS I was completely ignorant to the types of therapy that might help him. I of course had heard of ASD and all its components, but I really didn’t know what there was in types of assistance to help them. My misinformation and misunderstanding was there were none.

I pictured a family with an ASD child like this:

Screaming child…everywhere. Screaming in the house, at the park, in every public location he went to. All his screaming was unintelligible (no, I did not think they were all stupid) because I thought not many of they could actually talk. I thought they went through life in a normal school environment just with the understanding that the child has ASD and there is nothing you can do for them; because there is no cure right? Then I pictured the parents and them crying every night after the child goes to bed because they are beyond tired, worried and stress. They are smelly (the parents not the kids) because they are so busy giving 24 hour attention to the ASD child, they don’t have time to take a shower. So they also have stock in Old Spice and Dove deodorant and their stock portfolio looks amazing. The parents are also so skinny they look like Ethiopian children because their intake of calories isn’t enough compared to the use of calories in a day chasing around an ASD child who can’t speak but sure as heck can run. Lastly, are the siblings. They are druggies, or don’t even live at home because they have run away. If they do live at home, they are never given attention and often are at the receiving end of the abuse from the ASD child, who can’t talk, can run and is violent when he can’t express what he needs; which is all.the.time.

After we got home from the doctors I looked at us and our home. No telling when Bug actually got ASD, but we looked average. I was over-weight, personally well taken care of. Our daughter was happy and healthy as well. Bug could tell us what he needed to a point and our bank account did not reflect income from stocks, since we didn’t even have a portfolio. So I waited. I waited for that shoe to drop. I waited for him to stop talking, for him to start running and for us to wither away to nothingness. But we never did.

Instead, Bug was given an IEP and started at a special education preschool. He thrived. He was the only verbal child in his class and because of that he was a amazing model for his peers. The doctors soon wrote prescriptions for therapy and the influx of therapists started entering our homes and our daily lives. I quickly learned what they all did in terms of helping ASD children. However, it took me some time to get it all down.

When faced with a new diagnosis, it is always overwhelming, even the second time around. With two ASD children, I felt in control and prepared when handed her diagnosis. But I wasn’t. I was less prepared actually. I quickly feel back onto Bug’s therapists for advice and help. And soon I was maneuvering the road down ASD again like a pro. So I thought I’d share some of the foundations of therapy that are often prescribed with a ASD diagnosis. Remember every child is different. I have two ASD children and besides them both receiving ABA, they receive different services.

OT– Occupational Therapists (OT) Autism Speaks describes OT as “brings together cognitive, physical and motor skills. The aim of OT is to enable the individual to gain independence and participate more fully in life”.

PT– Psychical Therapists (PT) “focused on any problems with movement that cause functional limitations,” as stated by Autism Speaks.

Autism Speaks lists speech – encompasses a variety of techniques and addresses a range of challenges for children with autism.

ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis), to me, is the most important type of therapy a child with ASD can receive. Autism Speaks states that “Since the early 1960’s, applied behavior analysis, or ABA, has been used by hundreds of therapists to teach communication, play, social, academic, self-care, work and community living skills, and to reduce problem behaviors in learners with autism.”

All this information and more can be found by visiting Autism Speaks.

Mommy Moment Monday…A teenager with autism describes what it’s like


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Two little kiddos to be exact.  That said, our house is never boring, usually not quiet, but always full of love.  I hope that’s how they feel, anyway.  Not to say I don’t ever get frustrated, raise my voice, or lose my temper.  But, I hope that at the end of the day no matter what challenges we’ve faced my little guys know that we love them unconditionally, will always be there for them, and that they can count on us.

That said, there are times that I am so frustrated I can’t even see straight.  One issue that seems to be a constant frustration for us is sleeping.  My oldest gave up naps at two, my youngest still takes them semi-regularly at three, but they both have a hard time turning in at the end of the day.  And they get up early.  I mean, E…A…R…L…Y.  Like my husband leaves for PT at 5:20 and one of them has already been up almost a half hour.  Ay, ay, ay, is all I can say. I find myself asking, why can’t they just sleep?  Why can’t they just close their eyes and rest?  My husband has said he thinks it’s an issue where they just can’t turn their brains off.  We’ve all had those nights, where our thoughts keep us awake.  But, what if it was like that more often than not?  That’s why I found this youtube clip to be particularly interesting.  It’s a teenager describing what it’s like to have autism, and one of the things she talks about is her thoughts, constantly running in her head.

Her message is awesome, and I just want to hug and thank her for sharing.  Since my little ones are not at the point where they can always articulate to me what’s going on in their minds, I found this to be very insightful.  I’ll try to keep this in mind the next time we’re playing chase-the-kids-back-into-their-room at nap or bedtime.  Hopefully, they’ll know that I’m doing it out of love.  And my desperate need for some sleep 🙂  Have a great week, everyone!

Tip{py} Tuesday…Un-childproofing lunch


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Okay, so I have written before about packing lunch for my kiddo on the autism spectrum who has just started kindergarten.  He is my first child to go to school, so I am definitely having a little trouble “letting go.”  I worry about stuff all day, some warranted, some probably a little crazy.  One thing that I was worried about is him having lunch and not being able to open stuff like granola bars and fruit snacks.  Sometimes those packages are so tough, I can hardly open them J

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So we have been working on him opening Ziploc bags and he has pretty much mastered it.  So, I have been opening the snacks that I think he will have a hard time opening and putting them in Ziploc bags for him.  That way I don’t have to worry about him just sitting there and having trouble with no one to help him.  So far so good, I haven’t gotten any troubling reports from the lunchroom.

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I just figured if there was a small way to help his day go more smoothly when he is already working so hard and going through so many changes, I may as well.  🙂