Self Care

Posted on: March 3, 2012

In comparison to children of the same age, A is really behind with self care skills which makes our daily routine with him quite difficult & sometimes very frustrating.

A cannot brush his teeth (although he tries) he cannot dress, wash, bathe or dry himself. He also cannot go to the toilet – he’s still in nappies.

While we take getting dressed for granted, putting on a t-shirt is actually a long sequence of complicated movements for any young child.

A hates anything touching his head, he will push you away or moan, sometimes cry or become very anxious so to dress him can be really stressful – he will run off or try and pull the clothes off him as I’m trying to put them on – he’s not a small baby anymore so when he’s putting up a fight as to not get dressed it can hurt.

Certain materials can really irritate him, anything with a collar usually ends up being chewed & some clothes come straight back off seconds after putting them on.

When it comes to bathing A, its simple enough to get him into the bath but it takes a lot of negotiation to be able to wash him – we’ve began letting him wash himself – he can’t do it – but he thinks he can & that gives him great self-esteem. Try and wash his hair though and your in trouble, he will scream/cry even tries to climb out of the bath – he cannot stand anything touching his head, he becomes anxious & upset – its all sensory related & I’ve been told that I could actually be causing him pain through touching his head.

Changing his bum is also a problem – we went through a very long phase of literally having to hold A down whilst changing him & then doing it as fast we could, he would kick out and scream at even the most gentle touch – we had to put youtube videos on our mobiles for him to watch whilst we changed him – at nursery he still has to hold something or watch running water from the tap so they can change him.

Brushing his teeth is also an ordeal, we will brush them as fast as possible – as A gets so distressed, as though we are hurting him – sometimes he clamps his mouth shut or fights us to stay away.

All of these situations happen on a daily basis & in Autistic children its not uncommon.

Its so tiring caring for a disabled child – because that’s what A is – that’s what all Autistic children are. You can’t see their disability but its there and it will be there throughout their lives & what I’ve just explained is just a small part of living with Autism & the daily struggles that most people take for granted.

L x


8 Responses to "Self Care"

I can relate to this but quite a few years down the line, S is 14 now & at present has a complete aversion to water touching his head, hands & feet, he has always hated his head being touched, combed and when I wash his hair he just shakes. At 14 I have to wash him as sequencing is a huge problem and he has to dry his hands for hours after and cover his feet with almost every towel I own. Your right it is a disability and at 14 it breaks my heart to have to wash and dress my child, when my other children who are younger are so independent, even my 6 year old wouldn’t dream of letting me help him now. It is a never ending battle with new obstacles coming at you all the time.

we have exactly the same honey. It certainly does make the day more difficult but it just becomes part of our established routine :::))))

These are the things many people don’t realise come with autism.
We have similar issues with Sean who is almost 6 and in full time mainstream school (hopefully not for much longer đŸ™‚ ) and the nappy issue is probably the hardest to cope with as he gets older! He is now the size of an 8 year old with the strength of an adult man – he opened a door designed to be too heavy for children at the hospital on Thursday – so if he doesn’t want to be changed it’s hard work!!
I read a blog about public toilets not being designed for disabled children and it’s true – luckily Sean rarely has anything but a wet nappy when we are out so we can change him standing up!
Sean had 4 teeth out under general anaesthetic 2 months ago as they had rotted due to the lack of tooth brushing and refusal to go to the dentist!
We had all his gorgeous blond hair cut off to make bathtime less traumatic!
The list goes on……

It must take a special kind of parent to deal with what you do on a day to day basis. I thought having 6 children was hard, but actually I now think I have it easy. Thanks for explaining, and total respect to you.

It is difficult when they struggle so much. I don’t know how to get through to people how hard it can be sometimes, but most people tune out when we start to talk, which is very sad as we can all be affected by disability at any time. I suspect some people are scared of it and it is easier to tune out.

As I hear r difficulties on dressing & changing it jogs the memory of Tristyn at Preschool age yet those problems seem sooo long,ago. Yes they do get past these struggles. (an so will mom) The bad side is its overshadowed by new ones.

I personally know some of the things you are describing through my younger son (who does not have a diagnosis yet but pretty likely will soon) and understand so well the difficulties and frustration that you’re going through.

All my positive thoughts to you,

Not sure if this will help with you little guy, but find it helps with mine. He also hates having his diaper changed and puts up quite a fight. We use to speed through it as quickly as possible as he would scream and kick the whole time. We now do it in steps almost. First the pants come off and we grab his belly and wiggle him/tickle him which he loves. Once his diapers undone(but still on) we grab his legs and kick kick kick. He then gets wiped up and a fresh diapers, with an occasional wiggle or tickle to keep some movement going. When he’s all done, we hold his waist and let him jump a few times on the table before letting him “jump” off. It is a pretty physical ordeal by us providing some movement, he has an easier time holding still. Hope this helps!

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