He Needs Help

Brandon has autism. This affects his ability to complete most hygiene tasks. He can take care of himself with toileting stuff. He can wash his hands, but needs prompting to do so. He puts the soap in his hands first, rubs them together for a few seconds and then turns on the water. He does a pretty good job, but I find it so odd that he doesn’t wet his hands before putting the soap on. Does anyone else do this?

Brandon can not bathe himself. He can’t wash his hair or his body independently. We have tried over the years to teach him how to do these things, but he is absolutely not interested in learning. Brandon does not seem to understand how to mix the shampoo into his hair. And using a bar of soap with a washcloth does not work. I bought a loofah thing for him to try thinking he would like the scratching feeling. Nope.

Steve does the bathroom routine with Brandon every night. Brandon will let me if Steve is out of town or working late. Other than that, it has to be dad.

For the first 5-6 years of his life, Brandon had a real aversion to clothing. It didn’t matter where we were, he would strip off his clothes. We knew we had to help him figure that out. And we did, but it took a lot of time and patience. He can do buttons (although it takes him a minute or two) and zippers. Brandon can fully dress himself, but sometimes needs mom’s help to make sure it all matches. He can not tie his shoes. This past Christmas we found some slip on Nike’s that work perfectly and are stylish, too.

Brandon’s oral hygiene is not very good. We have to brush his teeth for him. They did this with him at school, but now that school is finished, we have to help him. He hates it. He gags, he jerks his head around, he says no frequently. I will admit there are days I just give up because it is too difficult. This morning was better – no jerking his head. Lots of gagging, though.

Brandon does not comb/brush his hair. We typically keep it pretty short. When it grows out, he has these marvelous curls. I use to spend a lot of money trying to get my hair to have curls like his. It never worked, my hair just ended up a big ball of perm smelly frizz. When I hand Brandon a comb or brush, he combs the same spot over and over. He never combs the back of his head.

Look at those curls!

I am not certain Brandon will ever figure out how to bathe himself or brush his own teeth. And that is okay. We will help him with those things. And we will most definitely continue to celebrate the things he can do!

2 thoughts on “He Needs Help

  1. Robyn says:

    Similar situation here too. Showers are a battle for us and someone needs to help wash him (and his head/hair – the part he hates to get wet). Teeth brushing is a real battle too. He used to let me but then stopped and will do it himself (but not very well – just to say ” I DID IT.” Declan just started dressing himself with clothes I lay out for him, which is great. We’re getting there. Really, routine helps so much! Happy with what he can do and hopeful he’ll learn to do the things he struggles with.

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