Baby Steps with Showering & Autism

The Boy hates to shower.  Well, like most kids he actually loves it once he’s in the water, but absolutely hates the idea of a shower or bath.  Compound that with the fact that he is super-sensitive about his body (i.e. can’t take a shirt off in front of me, and wears hoodies like they’re going out of style, even when it’s warm), and we have a constant battle on our hands to get clean.  And when puberty has hit, it is imperative for a boy his age to get clean, let me tell you.

He has also not had the skills to wash his own hair, which can be quite the challenge when he does everything in his power to hide his body from you.  For a few months, he would take his shower, and then I would wash his hair in the kitchen sink with the sprayer.  This became quite the production.

A few weeks ago, I finally decided to show him how to do this, embarrassment about his body be damned.  And I can tell you, he is learning.  The hardest part is getting him to back up far enough in the shower to get his entire head wet prior to applying the shampoo, and again to get the shampoo out.  I stand at one end of the shower, with the curtain held up so I “can’t see anything,” shouting out directions.  “Back up!  Tilt your head back!  Now turn your head to the right!”  I’m sure The Man is just shaking his head in the family room listening to it all, but it’s a learning process, and how the heck else are we going to do it?  I’ve thought about having him put his swim trunks on so I can climb in with him in my bathing suit, but…  Well, I’m not usually up for that after a long day at work, to be honest.  And besides, I think this is working.

I’ve also told him he needs to start taking more showers a week, because that’s what you have to do when you turn 12-and-a-quarter…

We’re getting there with baby steps, like usual.


4 thoughts on “Baby Steps with Showering & Autism

  1. Sounds like you are doing great. People don’t realize that certain tasks have to be painstakingly taught to and practiced by some kids. It’s a challenge. Breaking it down into steps and specifics has helped. Good luck to you.

    • Thanks. Even The Man doesn’t understand sometimes that these things not only need to be taught and practiced, but that it is always, always a process. Nothing happens overnight. But The Man is learning, too. It’s all baby steps around here 😉

  2. I have to do that with my 14 yr old son. He will get in the shower on his own but then he will just stand there in the water and not actually do anything until I check on him and remind him to use shampoo on his hair and soap on his body. He doesn’t care if I see him naked so I sometimes stand outside the shower looking in and reaching in to help him scrub his hair and get it rinsed. He’s not very good at rinsing thoroughly and will get out of the shower with shampoo still in his hair. But hopefully he is slowly learning to do it on his own.

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