- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Washing An Autistic Childs Hair/Helpful Tips For Fear Of Showers And Hygiene
Tips for washing hair of ASD child
Washing the hair of a child who has an autistic spectrum disorder can be both time consuming and strenuous for the child as well as the parent. I have a now 17 year old autistic daughter who has a fear of water, making it most difficult to perform this simple act. The first thing to keep in mind is that the child has to feel in control and somewhat comfortable with how the hair washing is being performed. It has been my experience with my daughter as well as witnessing other autistic children going through the same grooming procedure that showers terrify them because of the way the water sounds as it hits their heads and basically pours out over the entire body. Statistics have shown that a great number of these children have extra sensitive hearing and sometimes they can even hear things before we(the non-autistic)community can hear them. With my daughter, the sound of the water hitting her head and cascading over her ears has a very loud booming effect and can acutally make the ears ring triggering earaches and discomfort because of the ear's sensitivity. It also gives an underwater affect that is very scary to the child, especially if they are afraid of water. Try letting the child kneel over the side of the tub or stand and lean forward over the sink while washing their hair. Allow them to hold a washcloth or drying towel over their face to prevent water from running into the eyes, nose and ears. When rinsing use a large cup or plastic bowl and have the child turn side ways when rinsing the back and sides of the head. This will allow the water to fall away from the face and the child will feel in control of the situation, like they can stop the procedure at any time. This will relieve the child of the feeling that they are under water and will take away the "loudness," of the whole procedure making a joyful and comfortable experience for everyone involved. Another tip for showering if thats what your child does are earplugs! If they don't mind the underwater effect but don't like the noise. I hope this helps, let me know what you think!