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Washing with autism. Bubbles! The answer to washing himself better.

Updated: Dec 24, 2019

We've probably all been there. Whether it's a sensory issue, strength issue, or something else, it has been difficult to get our little ones to wash themselves. We've tried baths and showers here at the "Colter Hotel".


With Bryce, I first started him with a bar of soap. Mistake number one. Haha. He kept dropping it, so he started holding it like a credit card instead of flat on his body. Holding it this way led to touching each body part without actually washing it! I gave up for a while and just washed him myself, thinking, he'll get this sooner or later.


Now he is six years old, and it is "later". A few months ago I tried a bath/shower glove, thinking he would be able to use that much better than the bar of soap. His ASD took over, and he refused to put the glove on because of sensory issues and/or anxiety about something he didn't have any experience with. Here in florida, the only thing we wear gloves for is gardening.


A few days ago I tried a washcloth with soap on it. I put the soap on it and handed it to him. It worked better than the bar of soap and the glove. However, it led to lackluster performance. It just wasn't exciting enough for him.


Today he wanted to take a shower. When I turned the water on, I happened to see the loofah hanging on the shower caddy. I thought, why not, I'll put liquid soap on this and see if he'll use it. I got him into the shower and handed him the loofah with the soap on it. I said "wash all over". To my amazement, he started washing. He exclaimed "bubbles"! I saw the bubbles all over him and the shower floor. He was actually washing all by himself. Wow, who would have thought bubbles would motivate him to wash. He's had bubbles before in the bathtub, but I never thought the loofah would make bubbles that he liked and be motivating for him. I still had to verbally guide him to areas that he missed, but it is a start! Now, I'm looking forward to the next time to see how he progresses.


As autism parents, we try all sorts of things to help us get through the day. You just never know what is going to work in the end, and for Bryce, it seems to be a loofah. I might even try a loofah back scrubber to get to those hard to reach places. Both Sandy and Bryce have sensitive skin, so we use Aveeno Body Wash. I hope this post helps a lost parent out there. Comment with what has worked for you. We'd love to hear about it. It could help other people in your shoes. Don't forget to subscribe for blog updates!


-Chris





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Chris & Sandy Colter

657 SW College Park Rd

Port St. Lucie, FL 34953​​

Tel: 772-528-3058

parentingautism@att.net

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© 2019 by Chris Colter