Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bathing/Showering Asperger's Child

This post is dedicated to all aspie children who just defy the idea of stepping into the tub or shower to clean themselves.  I have dealt with this issue since my son was 2 and now approaching 15 we have come so far.  I do not want to say it will take this long for you as if I had some of this knowledge in the years prior we probably would have accomplished this task a long time ago.  In a nutshell, you would think it was world war III when it came to be bath time.  I am still surprised to this day that no one ever called the police on us with the screaming from my child when he would step his big toe into the water followed by

resistance to sitting down into the tub.  A few years back after finally getting him to sit in the tub and giving him directions on how to wash himself (I am guessing he was 11 years old) I left him alone hoping he would do the job all by himself and be done with it.  I heard him running the water while I was in the other room but he seemed to be doing fine so I went on with my business in cleaning up the house.  I go in to check on him about 15 mins later and OMG - no where to be found was Noah's Ark but I had gallons and gallons of water on my floor and bubbles bursting over the top of the tub.  Knowing I did not have any bubble bath I took a deep breath and in the most calmly voice asked what happened in here.  He was in his own world and it took a few times to get his attention. Rolling up my jeans so I am not knee deep in water (well not really but almost) I calmly asked What happened in here and where did all these bubbles come from?  (As I completed that sentence I see my body wash bottle is completely empty)  As he catches the bubbles that are flying in the air he responds: "Mom, did you know bubbles are made up of air surrounded by a thin film of water which traps the air in it." I respond "Wow, I never knew that" - trying to keep the mood in the room as pleasant as possible.  He then follows through with: "Did you know the biggest bubble ever blown could have held over 750 gallons of water". (In my mind I am calculating that is probably how much I have on my floor).   OK - the whole purpose of this was to get my son clean not learn facts but it didn't surprise me for him to past this information onto me. The biggest surprise of all was He Was Clean  even his toes and fingers were wrinkled which told me he sat in the tub long enough! (Except for his hair which at this time I am still doing for him).  The  light went on - he will take a bath with bubbles and get clean.

At this age of 11 he still had his bath toys which he happily played with.  I did not have a concern in the world that at this age he still needs to play in tub as long as he was getting clean.  I did find out using a wash cloth is still the best method of actually cleaning the body as the scrubbies always 'hurt' him.  Even the softest ones out there caused problems at this age.  Slowly over time we would just do a leg or arm with the scrubby and eventually he was using a scrubby to do his whole body.

To sum it up:

Set a time and be consistent that bath will take place a few times each week.  During the summer it is easier as swimming can replace it until he/she feels more comfortable in the tub.  Still to this day he knows he must be going in for his shower at 7pm each night.  He has no electronics if he does not go in for his shower by this time.  His reward is back on the computer for an hour if he initiated the bath/shower on his own.

Make bath time fun (no matter the age of the child). My son loves frogs so of course bath toys included plenty of these.  I now have bubble bath on hand.

Goggles:  This is the only way he would go swimming in the pool so why not allow it in the tub.  It keeps the water out of the eyes and helps when it comes time to wash hair.

Charts:  This never helped my son but many swear by showing the steps needed to wash the body and laminate the chart so it stays dry.

Slowly introduce the shower:  With goggles donned and a soap lathered boy, I would have him stand up and I would direct the shower over his body to rinse off the soap. We then introduced the shower to just wash trunk of body and allow him to sit in the water for the remainder of the bath.  Continue to add parts of the body that will be washed and rinsed.  Eventually it came time when he had to shower completely then sit in the bath and enjoy bath time.

Add Music:  Just this year (at 14) he received speakers so he can listen to his iPod while showering.  I do not think his bath toys have been touched in over a month.  He is enjoying his shower more now and actually goes in on a regular basis without being told to.  This is just music to my ears when I hear the shower going and he is not to be found.

It will come a time when you do not need to worry anymore.  There maybe setbacks when you need to start over again with step by step instructions.  Just be sure you are consistent with the rules, use the same prompts and procedures.  Be patient and remember to give positive feedback and lots and lots of praise and encouragement.







Personal Hygiene and the Asperger's Child


A common behavior characteristic in Aspergers kids is the dislike of grooming and personal hygiene habits. Aspies of all ages seem to have difficulty establishing sound hygiene routines in the areas of bathing/showering, brushing hair, changing clothes, haircuts, cleaning teeth and washing hair.  You are probably wondering "Where do I begin to get this all under control?".  Honestly it is a step by step process and you will not accomplish it all within a week or a few months.  I will not explain why the aspie child has problems in this area as that can be found anywhere you look on the web.  I want to keep each post short and sweet and how we as a TEAM worked together to overcome each obstacle. 

This series of blogs will attempt to gear you in the right direction.  It is what I have done and although we are far from being there we are slowly getting to that point.  I will list each one below and as I have a post written I will enter the link so you can follow up on it.  Please add your suggestions cause what works for one might not work for another and who knows, I might find the missing link that will help my son overcome his difficulties with you sharing how you got your child to improve on his personal hygiene.

My darling son is going to be 15 and I think our biggest obstacle right now is still with brushing teeth.  So that will be probably the last post I write about in this series as we are still working on it.  I want to start with showering as this has been a battle in itself since he was 2 years old.  I like to say I no longer need to remind him it's time for a shower and I will share in my post - Personal Hygiene (Bathing/Showering) on how we accomplished this.  Sit back and enjoy and visit often as I work on this series.

Upcoming Post in regards to Personal Hygiene with the Aspie Child:

Bathing/Showering - washing all body parts -[Click here to read this post]
Washing Hair {post forthcoming}
Changing Clothes {post forthcoming}
Haircuts {post forthcoming}
Brushing Teeth {post forthcoming}

Feel free to email me any questions/comments and I will answer them within a day as my email is checked on a daily basis or leave a comment below.



Saturday, January 12, 2013

Can I Continue Blogging? Challenge Me!

Jan 2013 - We all make resolutions come the new year - but how many of us actually keep them.  I am guilty for one - maybe I should make a new year's resolution that says I will not break any of my resolutions. This is why I titled this one can I continue.  I need to devote once a week to this blog.  It definitely isn't that I have nothing to say -- as this past year (2012) was full of exciting and also disappointing news/happenings.  I just have trouble finding the time to post.  I would love to get my followers back to visiting my blog and I guess the best way to do it is to become more active in keeping this blog.

This weekend I will try -- I said try -- to find some time to write about some cool happenings over the past year.  They are etched in my mind and if I get them down in here I am sure you and the next person will want to bookmark/feed this blog to keep coming back to see what happens next.

Parenting my asperger's child (no longer is Asperger's in the DSM-5 - as it was removed as a disorder and "collapsing" it under the autism spectrum disorders.) is still the main blog - I kind of like keeping it separate and having a name to my son's disorder -- My blog's title just could not be: Parenting my Autistic Spectrum Disorder Child.  ha ha.

Some very near future blogs:

Ways I learned to calm my child during a rage in 10 minutes or less
Getting you child involved socially even if he/she has no friends
Introducing new foods
Personal Hygiene (this is still a very hot topic in our household but we are getting there)
High School and the Asperger's Child
How to Get Siblings to Understand
Career Goals beyond High School - start now don't wait
Asperger's - Outside View Looking In ---> My son's blog

Bear with me as I have a feeling this will be a great year in blogging if I can devote once a week.  I will do my best although I might need you to flood my inbox with messages to keep me going.






Friday, March 30, 2012

April - Autism Awareness Month - My life with Autism

Well CNN (the national news station in the United States) contacted me and offered for me to do an assignment for "Life with Autism" - What should the World Know About Autism. My story titled: Autism is not horrible - just different can be viewed here Life with Autism

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Autism Child and Apartment Living

Does anyone live in an apartment complex with their ASD child. I am in such a situation -- it's one of those times you wonder if the whole world is up against you. I received a ltr from our landlord that they will not be renewing our lease for the upcoming year. Sucks! I am a single mom with the twin boys and I am 100% convinced it is our neighbor below us that continues to write management about the 'so-called noise level' which she has been complaining about for the last 7 years. There is no talking to this neighbor as she had it against us the day we moved in when she made a comment to my sister (thinking she was the one moving in) by saying "I hope you don't have any kids). My sister replied "it was her sister moving in and she has beautiful twin 7 years old". And she turned around and said "Oh I hate kids"... Well 7 years later after always paying rent on time and boys doing no destruction to this property we get this letter. They are aware I am raising an autistic boy and it isn't always pleasant. Sure the easy way out is to find another apartment complex to suit our needs -- but .. coming up with the first month/last month rent plus security deposit is gonna be almost impossible. The other places I have been checking into are at least $125 more a month. I am on a strict budget and even having an additional $50 a month put out is gonna be such a financial burden. I've checked with local assistance groups and no one seems to be able to help. My fear is 'it doesn't matter where we move -- eventually someone will complain that my autistic son is not allowing them to live in a peaceful community (Autism is never peaceful) -- even though the disruptions never ever occur after 9pm at night or before 7am in the morning as he is in his bed. The management company has made up their mind -- they will not change it --. I've been in tears every single night after I tuck the boys in bed with what am I going to do. There is no doubt we can move into a low-income (HUD) area but I WILL NOT raise my boys in a drug infested/crime area. My anxiety has been through the roof. I know they claim ''everything happens for a reason'' but this time I just am beside myself. Just the looking around for a new complex, the phone calls, trying to rebudget isn't all of it -- I am dealing with a young man that is fearing this change soooo much. Between losing the very few 8 year old friends he has and changing a school -- the idea of a transition is too much for him. I am just getting this all off my chest -- If I don't die from anxiety/stress then I am convinced I will live til I am 100. lol. I really have no way of proving this management company is not renewing our lease b/c of my sons -- they claim in their letter to me it is a 'business decision'. I guess I am just looking for prayers to help me find something in our price range and to help my son with this ease of transition. If you read down to here.. thanks! I am at a lost to what to do. I am reaching out to the world -- what would you do! April is Autism Awareness Month and more than ever do I need people to become more aware and acceptable of autism. What am I to do????? If you wanna share with someone you think can help then please do! Thanks!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chat is open - Saturday July 9

Come on by the blog if you wish to chat.  If you are having any problems, leave a comment below and I will try to help you

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mission Accomplished!

Social stories, charts, rewards, routines -- sometimes they work sometimes they don't.  But today was an extraordinary day which I just wanted to jump up and down and scream hallelujah!  My ASD boy has had a nasty cold the last 2 weeks and that was enough to blow his whole demeanor out of whack every day, every hour of that day and each minute out of that hour.  Lightly said - the last two weeks have been extremely challenging.

Although today even with his cold and coughing all night long and struggling to wake up for school - which like I said has been routine for the last two weeks I decided to try something new.  His biggest obsession right now is playing Wizard101 after school on the computer and completing missions.  I decided to use that word - MISSIONS - into his morning routine today.  It went something like this:

As I was waking him his twin brother was already walking out of the bedroom to get in for his shower.  I told my asd son that he has a mission to complete this morning to earn his starbust candy after school.  The mission was:

Part 1 - To treat his brother nicely and remember personal space (no popping bubbles)  -- completed
Part 2 - be fully dressed for school before your brother exits the bathroom - completed...
Part 3 - Eat his breakfast and cleanup before 7:10 am -- completed
Part 4 - Brush teeth, brush hair, bathroom and out the door by 7:22pm -- completed

This was all a verbal mission given to him and he followed it to the T.  This was the best morning I can literally remember and I am going back years.  Was it the reward of the starburst or was it he was head strung in completing his Morning Mission.  It worked - that is all I care about.  I left his starburst on the table so he could see it when he came home from school with a note attached that said:  Mission Completed - Congratulations, I am proud of you.  Love Mom".  He knew when he left for school that he completed the mission.

Well after school before the door knob left his hand coming into the home he was asking if he could have his starburst.  He must of been thinking about it all day long.  I decided once again to use the Mission tactic for his afternoon chores for Thursday.  Mission was completed without any problems (although this time I did have it written down for him and he followed it step by step).  His reward for that Mission was gum for school as it does help him focus more and most of his teachers allow him to chew it.

What a beautiful day it has been.  Now I need to become more creative and give cute little names to these missions.  How long will it be effective for I really do not know - but I will take it one day at a time.

I always said I love challenges since I was in high school - and oh boy, I sure was handled one that will last a life time and I wouldn't want it any other way.  Thanks for reading and sorry there has been such delays in getting my blog out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Parenthood

I absolutely love Parenthood and have it set to record the series just in case I don't get my mommy time at 10pm for one reason or another on a Tuesday night.  The recognition this show is getting both on the local and national level has amazed me for one main reason:  AUTISM AWARENESS!  The producer does an excellent job having Max portray an individual with Asperger's (I've read somewhere that in real life he also has a son on the spectrum) that I sometimes think our family life is being taped and shown to the world.  Every episode I have watched I have been able to say - hey that's my lil' boy there and know that I am not alone in this.
The episode last night was just phenomenal (Tuesday February 15, 2011). How many meltdowns we have had because the things were changed!  Just had one this morning before he walked out for school - My ds turned 13 today and wanted to wear these really huge birthday glasses someone gave me last month for my 50th birthday and when told he couldn't he was throwing items, screaming and taking his tantrum (lightly said) and refusing to go to school (this is all happening within 8 minutes of the bus coming).  Apparently when I showed them to him last month I made the comment maybe he could wear them on his birthday and he remembered it and was set to wear them as he walked out the door for school.  I was able to defuse the situation when I told him when he comes home from school this afternoon he can wear them for the rest of the day and even to bed.  He thought it was cool that I would let him take them to bed with him and whewwwwww - out the door for school he went!

My ds has his own blog at Outside View Looking In .  I hope you stop by to view it soon.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Outside View Looking In

My ASD son started his own blog as a goal project for school.  There are only two entries but the goal is to have 100 people view or become followers of it since there are 1 in every 100 boys diagnosed with Asperger's.  Can you help him meet this goal.  Take a hop over to his blog right here: Outside View Looking In and become a follower.  You can ask him questions or just comment  Let him know you were there to visit.  Thanks!

I made top 47 Asperger's Support Blogs on the Web!

Making it in the top 47 Asperger's Support Blogs just made my day.  There are a lot of blogs out there and to see my blog in the list -if it was the top 1000 or top 10- makes me tickled pink.  I actually forgot I had a blog over at http://autism-blog.com.  I was #31.  How cool is that.  Now my goal is to get more people to actually follow this blog.  My son just started his own blog as a project for school and his goal is to get 10 people to follow his.  So hop on over to his blog by clicking My View of Asperger's and follow him.  Thanks for the reading and will have another update on parenting asperger's soon.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Lasagna for Thanksgiving, 2010


"Yummy" as Matt tells me and ask "Did you cook it exactly as the recipe calls for. I sure did!  He brings home a recipe book from the library and he knew I was making Lasagna for Thanksgiving for the last two weeks and wanted me to make HIS version.  (psss - it's almsot his - with his understanding of substitution).  We are having family over but keeping it small as not too overwhelm him.  Some family Wii fun before dinner, after dinner and then the homemade apple pie to top off the day for dessert.  Happy Thanksgiving All and remember to keep it simple and not to stress yourself out.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sleep on it!

My twin son (the NT one) wants a kitten and found out that one of his cousins has one that she is trying to find a new home for.  Even though I am not too keen on the idea of another pet, we were talking about it during our dinner and the two boys were chiming in with their excitement over this possibility.  We already have a parakeet, leopard gecko and a ferret so another animal in this apartment just does not sit too well with me.  I finished up our conversations with "I will have to sleep on it".  I really don't recall the exact comment I used with this phrase but I will assume it went like this:  I really do not know if we should get this kitten boys, I will have to sleep on it.  Conversation ended and the next afternoon I was asked about the kitten by the NT son as both boys walked into the door from school.  I told him I really don't know what happen with the kitten as I have not talked to his cousin.  Minutes later my ASD son is starting with a typical meltdown - at this point I have no idea why he is behaving this way.  This meltdown lasted a good hour from him kicking walls, screaming and every other behavior that usually accompanies a rage.  Finally he de-esculates through the help of this exhausted mom and we talk about what happened.  Again, this is one of the times I had no idea what started it and it was my duty to try to help him gather his thoughts and replay his reactions so this behavior would not happen again.  

Finally he was able to tell me "If you didn't sleep on it maybe you would know more about the kitten".  WOW - it made sense.  Because the night prior I said I would sleep on it - he thought I slept on the kitten and killed it which is why I had no idea what happened to the kitten. 

I probably do not have to remind you but Asperger's children are very literal in their communications.  My dear ASD son learned a new idiom last night that "Sleep On It" means to not make an immediate decision about a plan or idea, but to wait until the next day in order to have more time to think about it.  Mom learned that I so need to be more careful when using idioms.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Happy Mommy!

It happened.  I am just as excited as any mom would be like when their kids take their first step or say their first word.  My ASD boy M actually took a shower last night and wanted (get this - he WANTED) to wash his own hair.  Now he still wanted me in the bathroom with him to step him thru the procedures - but this is a night I have been waiting for a long time.  I think what initiated it was the other night when I was washing his hair I explained that he doesn't want mom to be washing his hair when he is 18 so he needs to start learning now (He is 12.5 now).  He still needed the wash cloth to cover his eyes when rinsing but I was so proud of him.  My fingers are staying crossed that this continues.  His reward for taking his own shower was staying up 1/2 hour later (which he turned down because he said - but I always go to bed at 9 - I can't  stay up 1/2 hour later)  He knew mom was proud of his new independents and he got a lot of verbal praise. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hotdogs!

Ok, so I made hot dogs for dinner tonight.  From M's first bite he told me that they weren't the same as I always make.  He asked if I steamed them for the same time as I always do.  Of course I did I tell him - I even marinated them in LOVE (trying to disengage him from a rage).  He is telling me he doesn't like them and won't finish it - and gets into an angry dispute that I did not make them the same as I did last week.  I just bought the hot dogs today and told him if he don't like it then don't eat it.  I finished cleaning up the dinner dishes and was sorting wash in another room.  He comes charging in flashing the hot dog package in my face saying --- mom you bought hot dogs made from turkey and beef -- NOT JUST BEEF.. no wonder I don't like them.  Oh boy -- he is gonna make a good husband someday.  Grrrr.  Anyone want turkey and beef hot dogs??

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chat tonight 9/2/2010 - 7-8pm EST

Looking forward to see all in the chat tonight.  If you haven't signed in, take a moment to or chat as a guest.  Fingers cross that tonight is a good night for me to sit and chat without disruptions. 

First Week of School

Good start to the 2010-2011 school year.  First week is now out of the way.  My 12.5 ASD son seems to like all his classes and I hope to see him really challenged this year and excel like I never saw before.  I just can't believe he has entered the 7th grade -- WOW!  The summer was great - we continue to have a MT and just got reassigned a new Behavioral Therapist - just in time for the start of school.  M is finally doing better with his MT - transition is not as bad - this is after almost 3 months (12 visits - once a week).  Transition time has been almost a full hour before he would come to his senses.  The last 2 sessions he actually did not run and hide when she came to the door and both of them were able to get right to work within 15 minutes.  I believe it is a long process for the MT to really get to know a client when they first begin - especially when they only work with him once a week for about 1.5 hours.  Keeping my fingers crossed that the sessions continue well - hoping for success with the new Behavioral Therapist and wishing my lil' boy (well not really lil anymore - gosh he is gonna be a teenager in just a few months) has a very challenging and successful year in the 7th grade.  Oh, we signed papers yesterday to find alternative methods if their science class decides to dissect frogs or any other 'animal'.  Frogs are M's major obsession - and not when they are dead.  I do have to say it will be an interesting year!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mom's Need to Know Back to School Giveaway -

Ok, a facebook friend who has an awesome blog and gives away really neat products has something that I feel is really worth a try at winning.  It is an Acer Aspire 4820T laptop computer and Mindy has been giving away products for Moms for a long time.  She has been on the local news more times than I can count and I only dream to be as great as a mom as her.  Read about this fabulous giveaway right here by clicking on this link: 

Moms Need To Know - Back to School Giveaway  Please check it out and even try to win for yourself or one of your kids.

I was just saying in my last blog how a computer would be so beneficial for M.  Well this is my chance to try to win one for him.  I have never won anything before so I know my chances are probably nil but I figured I would give it a chance anyway. 

I can only at this point dream big on how M owning his own computer would be so beneficial to him.  Even having him do his own reports, learning about his favorite obsession - frogs and weather - and even downloading his pictures from his camera onto his own computer sounds so absolutely wonderful that it is too exciting to not think about.  How it would allow him to become much more proficient in his everyday task - oh my, the list could go on and on how this would benefit him.  Keeping my fingers crossed.  The drawing is on August 23 and Mindi will announce the winner on her website and her facebook page.

Take a look at Mindi's facebook page here.  Mindi's Facebook page

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tough Summer

We started WrapAround Services and have had about 6 weeks with the MT.  Do I see a difference? - nope - He does not look forward to the MT coming over each week for about 1.5 hours. Transition time is almost 20 - 30 minutes and it is so stressful.  The MT doesn't even seem to know how to control this.  Great MT huh!  Does that mean I need to cease wraparound - I have no clue.  His summer has been really difficult.  I have been trying to make it more structured for him but I guess I just don't have the skills like school does.  He did attend ESY for two days out of the week during the summer for about 6 hrs each day - which I have to say he absolutely loved.  I think next year during our IEP meeting I am going to have to push for 5 days instead.  As long as he is on his electronics (Computer, Wii, PlayStation and Gameboy) he is the most content child in the world -- until the website he is playing on decides to do an unscheduled maintenance and decides to shut it down - then he goes into a verbal outburst and gets quite angry.  I have had him spend more time on the outside let it be for swimming, walking around the block or getting together with his one friend to break up his day but it is sometimes very hard to convince him. He would rather sit at the computer all day if I would let him.  His eating habits are still poor - but he tells me that is just the way it is.  Today he said -" but mom, if i wasn't growing then you should be concerned - but look I am almost as tall as you". He is so right there - He will be looking down at me soon. instead of looking up at me.

Sometimes I feel like I am at the end of my rope.  It's not that I want to so call change him because he is the most caring, affectionate, intelligent boy whom I love so much but its more trying to understand him and his way of thinking.  Trying to catch the verbal outburst or physical aggression before it happens is so hard.  It is not until afterwards that I think back on the situation and realized what triggered it and for the most part it makes sense - its that trigger I want to recognize before he explodes.  Suggestions are always welcomed.  

Only 2 more weeks before school starts.  I do look forward to it.  He will continue to be in the emotional support class.  He will be pulled for Math into the regular classroom with an assistant.  School has talked about getting him some type of electronic device for him to communicate with but this still has not happened.  I think I might have to take the next step and get him something for home.  This way he can do his reports, journal, etc.  He loves using his camera and that would be so special to him to be able to learn to download his own pictures onto his own computer.  And just maybe he can verbalize his daily feelings to help me understand what is going on in his head.  He is a very intelligent boy and I really want to see him more challenged - just hoping it doesn't frustrate him more.  Only time will tell. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Amazing

He actually watched - and I mean watched - his first thunderstorm with excitement yesterday.  We still had a few screeches as the thunder wailed in the air but how amazing it was to see him enjoying something he has literally despised for years with a double rainbow to end this 'first'.  I can thank my sister for getting him his red headphones which prepared us for quite an amazing 4th of July also - which again was a first with him being able to function in a very crowded environment.  Those headphones tag along with him as often as bo-bo; his first stuffed bunny he received when he was 2 months old.

We are learning how to work with Matt's sensory needs though it has been quite a rough road.  I am seeing his behavioral disruptions more as a reaction to a sensory dysfunction than a defiant disobedient little boy.   The key to it is to catch it before the behavior comes out.  This has been a tricky quest for me as its usually not until I see the behavior that I realize what caused it.  I guess we are on the right track as I now know when excessive noise is going to be present we pull out those red headphones.  Thanks sis!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Autistic Child is......

A dorable

U nderestimated

S ensitive

T eachable

I rrational 

S tims alot 

T houghtful (yes he does display feelings) 

I ntelligent 

C omputer Addicted 

 

I don't want a cure as he is ...so special in his own unique ways. I just want to teach him how to deal with his differences.